My lovely friend Karen who lives in Hong Kong generously passed this family recipe on to me after I waxed lyrical over it at a morning tea she was hosting. Growing up in a Lebanese family, Karen watched her mother make vast quantities of hummus on a weekly basis. It was Karen’s job to peel all the garlic and squeeze the lemons. For her family it was a staple in the fridge – like milk or bread, and it featured on the dinner table most nights alongside tabouli and Lebanese bread. Since getting this recipe, hummus has now become a staple in our fridge too.

Hummus is one of those dishes that you don’t need exact amounts for. I generally follow the recipe but each time I make it I might add a little more or less tahini, or a little more water, or salt. I just taste as I go and adjust as needed.

There are so many recipes for hummus and everyone has their favourite – this is mine (and Karens!)


Karen’s Hummus

3 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (see note for dried chickpeas)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 clove garlic
1 ¼ cups tahini
2/3 cup lemon juice
4 tbsp water (optional)
½ tsp paprika
1 tbsp freshly chopped Italian parsley
1 tsp olive oil


Crush the salt and garlic together in a mortar and pestle and then place in a food processor with the drained chickpeas and blend until smooth.  Gradually add the tahini and lemon juice. When blending, pause to combine the mixture and scrape down the sides.  Taste as you go, adding a little more salt, tahini or lemon juice to get the balance right for you.  Add the water gradually until you reach your desired consistency.

To serve, place the hummus on a small platter or in a shallow bowl.  Sprinkle with a little paprika and/or parsley and drizzle with olive oil.  For a different topping that creates texture, coat some chickpeas in a little cumin spiced flour and fry them until crunchy and sprinkle on top of the hummus.


If you prefer to use dried chickpeas then substitute the canned  for 1 ½ cups of dried chickpeas. Cover the chickpeas with water, add 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and soak overnight. They should double in volume. The next day, drain the chickpeas, cover with fresh water and bring to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for approximately 40 minutes or until the chickpeas are very soft. Drain.  (Chickpeas expand considerably when soaked, so allow room for expansion in the soaking bowl).