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Origins and history of hummus

Origins and history of hummus

Origins and history of hummus


Our passion for the versatile and widely loved Hummus took us on the quest to find all about the origins of this delicious spread. After a lot of in-depth research and reading, we were left with more questions than answers.

Where on earth did Hummus come from? Who was it who chanced upon the delectable combination of mashed chickpea and ground sesame? Did they just accidently drop some olive oil into the mix or was it a calculated, measured-out step intended to improve and enhance a recipe in the making?

Was there even one individual creator or many different cultures from in and around the same regions that designed and crafted variations of their own chickpea-sesame amalgamation?

While we were not able to pinpoint the exact location of its birth, nor recognize a singular discoverer, we did manage to grasp some understanding about the discovery of Hummus.

The history of Hummus

To trace back the roots of Hummus, we need to go back from where it all started. The chickpea. Chickpeas were a part of the Mesopotamian agricultural produce. They were notably one of the earliest legumes to be cultivated.

With time chickpeas made their way across to the Levant region. The Levant region comprises of Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Cyprus and Lebanon.

The Levant states is where we find the first noted descriptions of the Hummus. Each of their countries has their own historical narrative of how Hummus was created and developed. They defend fiercely this narrative and will sit you down anytime of the day and explain passionately why they believe their stake on the ownership of the Hummus to be higher than that of the others.

Lebanon, in an attempt to claim ownership of the dish, created a massive plate of hummus that weighed 10,452 kilograms! While it didn't achieve what it set out for, the gigantic plate of Hummus did find a place in the Guinness Book of world records which is an impressive feat!

Is Hummus, Greek?

Trade amongst the countries could also be a prominent factor as to why the Hummus crossed borders and traveled far and wide. For centuries, the Egyptians and Greeks were trade partners which explains why much of the Arab and Greek cuisine is interchangeable. Many ‘crossover foods’ like the baqlawa, stuffed grape leaves and the hummus may create some confusion about which food belongs where!

However, Hummus is definitely proven to be more Middle Eastern than Greek.

Chickpeas, Sesame, Olive Oil-Yes! Garlic, Vinegar, Lemon juice -Yes, No, Maybe?

What is the authentic traditional hummus made from?

Aficionados of the spread have concocted many delectable variations of the humble dip but what does the real Hummus look like?

Well, there may be plenty dispute about its origins, but the real set of ingredients has stayed the same even after thousands of years.

Garbanzo beans or chickpeas, sesame tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Salt of course. Such a simple myriad of components come together to give us a lively and nutritious side dish, which in our opinion works quite well as a main too!

The Global phenomenon that is the Hummus!

Did you know that May 13th is celebrated as International Hummus day? The migration of people from the Middle East during the 1900’s introduced Middle Eastern cuisine to the western world.

Intrigued by this vegan, low fat, protein-rich dip which was also dairy, nut and gluten free people took to Hummus like no other. The perfect combination of it with some pita bread won hearts and soon, the International Hummus day was marked by Ben Lang to create a holiday around a particular food that brought people together from across the world.

Our country, India also shared a common ground with this Arabic dish. Not only do we love our ‘chana’, we are also popular world over for our ‘rotis’. The technique of dipping some pita bread into a lush creamy ‘chutney’ like spread made us naturally fall in love with Hummus.


Variations of the Hummus

Changing times, tastes and nutritional preferences created curiosity as to how the Hummus could be customized to include other ingredients. Experimentation ensued and today we have a whole range of ‘Hummus’ spreads that included carrots, beetroot, spinach and even roasted bell peppers!

The one common thing in all these new introductions is that they are all basically meant to be healthy. A real Hummus is:

      Made fresh

      Free of preservatives

      Free of colorings 

      Retains the nutritional profile of the ingredients

      Meant to be shared by two or more people

Maybe the sole reason that its origin cannot be traced back could be that it is supposed to bring together people for the love of wholesome and real food. That it is meant to be loved by all and owned by none!




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