The Ordeal of Being a Vegetarian and the Best Homemade Hummus Recipe

by Rashmie Jaaju on September 28, 2011 · 17 comments

in 'Me' Time,Cook & Learn,Creative Kids,Food

Recently, more than once have I mentioned about our trip to South Africa and how exquisite and adventurous our experience was. What I haven't talked about though, my dear friends, is our experience, or rather, our exertion – in finding pure vegetarian food there. 

Really, it was an ordeal of the highest order. Pardon my reaction, but we were appalled to see so few options in vegeterian dishes. Actually, there were no options so to speak. For, we had no choice but to choose from cheese and tomato sandwiches, veggie Burger, veggie pasta or pizza. 

Or, we would plead with the chefs to prepare stir fried vegetables that we could have with rice. When our stomachs and palette could no longer take the refined flour-made pizza, pasta and sandwiches, Greek and French salads came to our rescue. Except of-course in big cities like Cape town or Port Elizabeth where we were fortunate to hunt down Indian or Mediterranean restaurants. 

The few times that we were able to find the Mediterranean or more specifically Middle Eastern delicacies like Hummus and Pita Bread, those meals were a boon. Hummus – thou art our saviour!

This delicacy tickles your taste bud in a subtle way; it's packed with nutrition and making it is a busy mom's joy.

I discovered this dish almost seven years back. And along with it – came to appreciate some other vegetarian Middle Eastern dishes like Baba Ganoush and Falafel

Ever since I have been making Hummus at home. 

I have tried a few variations over the last few years. 

But, the one I made couple of days back, was by far the most amazing version I've ever eaten - at home or in the finest of restaurants. I know, I run the risk of sounding high-and-mighty but, folks, it was really THAT good and I am emphasizing so that you feel motivated to make it yourself.

Here goes the recipe with some pictures. 

As usual, Pari contributed in the making of this. Adding ingredients, mixing, grinding, squeezing, mashing, stirring, taking in the aroma – she loves doing all this. And in the middle of it, we covered math and geography as we talked about measurement, units and ratio and discussed about countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Greece where this dish is eaten.


  • Tahini (see below how to make Tahini) – 2 table spoons
  • Chickpeas – 1 cup
  • Lemon juice – 4 teaspoons
  • Dried Red Whole Chilli (or flakes) – 1
  • Crushed garlic – 1 teaspoon
  • Olive Oil (I use extra virgin) – 2 table spoons 

For Tahini:

  • Sesame seeds (white) – 2 table spoons
  • Cumin – 1/3 tea spoon
  • Whole Coriander seeds – 1/2 tea spoon
  • Sugar – 1/3 tea spoon

Tahini – Roast sesame seeds + cumin + whole coriander + Whole red chilli (avoidable)


  1. To make Tahini, toss sesame seeds, cumin, coriander seeds, dried whole chilli in a pan and roast till the sesame seeds turn light brown and you can smell a mixed aroma of all the ingredients.
  2. When the roasted mixture cools down shift it to a small jar to grind. Add 2 table spoons olive oil to it and grind well till it turns creamy and butter-ish. It should be little thicker than pouring consistency.

Next comes the making of Hummus.

  1. You must have soaked the chickpeas overnight before you are ready to boil them for the hummus. I use our Indian-style pressure cooker for this.
  2. Do not throw away the water in which you boiled the chick peas. For, that we are going to use to mash the chick peas.
  3. Add the chick peas and the tahini along with 2 cups water (left behind from the boiled chick peas). Add salt and the lemon juice. Grind till it becomes a smooth paste of dropping consistency. 

How to eat/serve:

You can eat this with Pita bread, or whole ground bread or the traditional Indian roti. Kids will relish this as a dip with veggies like cucumber or carrot. You can also serve this at parties with chips or nachos.

The best part about making Hummus is that you don't have to follow this or any other recipe to the T. You can add more or less of lemon juice, garlic or Tahini depending on your taste. 

Hummus is packed with nutrition. Particularly homemade hummus. It's a rich source of iron, calcium, Vitamin C, Omega 3 fatty acids, folate, Vitamin B 6, protein and other nutrients. Read more about its nutrition value here

Food, I must say, is an inherent part of a complete travel experience. Lack of it will leave you less than satiated.

What is the one overwhelming challenge you have expereinced during travel – with or without kids? Were you able to find a solution to it?