This dip is originally Arabic, and is made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini (sesame paste), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is a popular food throughout the Middle East and elsewhere.
I'm an absolute die-hard fan of hummus, and aside from having it with bbq/grilled meaty dishes for the most part, sometimes I enjoy having it just as it is with some toasted pita bread! Really satisfying and very very delicious.
Here is my pita bread recipe.
1 ½ tbsp. tahini paste
2 cups chickpeas (boiled or from the can. Drain the ones from the can and rinse them out)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
salt to taste
1 tsp. red chili powder
¼ tsp. cumin powder
½ tsp. garlic paste
1 cup water
2 tbsp. olive oil
yoghurt/sour cream/buttermilk (optional)
TIP: Tahini paste is normally sold, but I prefer making mine at home as it is fairly easy to do, and tastes better than the bought preserved ones. You can then store any leftover in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks, or freeze for slightly longer.
All you need to do is roast about a quarter cup of sesame seeds, take them out when they just start releasing a bit of oil but before they turn brown. (about 5-10 mins at 180 C but toss them a little bit midway through the roasting) Then let them cool for some minutes and then put them in your processor and grind them with a bit of olive oil until you achieve a smooth paste.
TIP: If you want a smooth hummus, remove all the peels from the chickpeas before grinding. It's tedious but it gives a smoother result.
Now put the boiled chickpeas in your grinder/processor (reserve a few for garnishing purposes), then add lemon juice, tahini paste, olive oil, garlic paste, chili powder, cumin powder, salt to taste and water. Grind everything together until it becomes a smooth paste. You can add sour milk or buttermilk or yoghurt in this if you want your hummus creamier! Taste and adjust flavors to suit your taste buds, some people prefer more tahini, or more lemon, or more garlic or chili. Have at it! Add whatever you feel you like. :)
To serve, pour the hummus in a plate (a real Arab never puts hummus in a bowl :P) then dip your finger or the back of a spoon and form a spiral shape. Drizzle some olive oil into it and it will wind all around forming a perfect pattern. Garnish with the reserved chickpeas around the border and sprinkle a bit of paprika on top.
Enjoy with your toasted pita bread! :)