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Lebanese Cooking

Authentic Humus


Here's what Majid, our friend and Lebanese Cooking workshop leader, had to say about Humus in his blog Somerville Kitchen:


'First, let us get one thing straight. Humus is a Lebanese original. The word Humus means chickpeas in Lebanese dialect, so no way it can be Greek, Turkish, Isreali, Egyptian, Afghani or any other culture that claims they are the originators of Humus. No wonder Lebanon keeps on winning the Guinness world record for the largest Humus plate.' :)


Chickpea Prep:

1 can chickpeas

1 tsp baking soda

pot of water

manual passoire, (also known as a food mill)

Empty the water from the can of chickpeas and leave aside. Sprinkle the chickpeas with baking soda and let sit for 30 minutes.

Without rinsing, put the chickpeas into a pot of water and bring to a boil. You just want to warm up and soften, not boil further.

The baking soda helps speed up the cooking of the chickpeas, which in turn will help with digestion and gas.

A good humus does not come out of a food processor, but a manual passoire or food mill -- a colander that squishes the chickpeas through. However, if you don't have one, you gotta do what you gotta do!


6-7 tbsp raw tahini (sesame paste)

juice of 2 lemons

2 tbsp water

1-2 pressed garlic cloves

1/2 tsp salt


Add the above to the crushed chickpeas with a spoon and your hand.

At this point the texture is going to feel thick and like dough.

Taste and decide whether it needs more lemon or salt.


Add more liquid (either lemon juice or water, depending on your taste) and

keep on mixing, tasting and adjusting until the texture is creamy and soft.

You can use the liquid from the can instead of water at this stage for added richness

(note: chickpea water may give you more gas).

Remeber, authentic Lebanese Humus always...

  • uses chickpeas only

  • doesn't have too much garlic (North American humus tends to add more)

  • has no pepper

  • is soft and creamy

  • is sprinkled with paprika or olive oil

  • is eaten with pita bread!

Bulgher bi Tfeen

stew meat (we used beef, you can omit for vegetarian dish)

1/3 onion

2 cups bulgur or rice

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas

5 cups water

salt & pepper


caraway seeds

Cut stew meat into little pieces, put into a pot (with no oil). 

Cover and simmer on low heat until it is cooked and the liquid evaporated.

Chop onions and add to the meat.

Add the rice, cooked chick peas, water, salt, pepper, cinnamon and caraway.

Bring to boil then simmer until rice is cooked.

Serve with yogurt.





Where to Buy Ingredients:

Yek o yek

Superstore's ethnic section

August Market

Most Middle Eastern grocery stores

Cheese Dip

1/2 onion

1/2 tomato

1 cup white cheese (goat, soft feta)

1 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsp olive oil

Chop onion and tomato into very tiny chunks.

Add white cheese, oregano and olive oil. 

Mix and serve with pita.

A simple and delicious crowd pleaser!




This traditional Lebanese dish is so complex, we only got to taste it instead of making it together! Molohkia means 'meal of the kings' and involves a lengthy process of cooking Mallow leaves into a soup, and layering baked pita chips, rice, chicken, Mallow stew and onions and lemon on top. More on Molokhia in Majid's words.

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