Naciye Nene’s Cookbook: humus

Prep Time: 20 minutes      Garnish Time: 7 minutes     Total Time: 27 minutes

A favourite of Naciye nene’s, humus is proof that some of the best-tasting things in life are the simplest to make. This chickpea-based dip is a staple at any Turkish table spread and its fabulous flavour means the popularity of this dish has extended far beyond its Middle Eastern origins to be enjoyed globally.

Long before humus was sold ready-to-eat in the supermarkets or chickpeas came processed in cans, Naciye nene and her granddaughters were making this at home using dried chickpeas. These were either soaked overnight or fast-cooked using a pressure cooker. Once cooled, the outer skin of each chickpea was individually removed, before the peas were ground using a hand-powered mixer. The chickpeas were then mixed with the ingredients in a pan, constantly stirring over a low heat until the taste was right and the consistency medium-thick.

Turks will always bring out the humus when charcoal grilling kebabs in the garden. But it’s not just the perfect accompaniment for meat; humus compliments so many foods. It’s ideal for vegetarians wishing to dunk in a crisp crudité. It can act as a replacement for butter or mayonnaise in a wrap or sandwich, and it is wonderful simply scooped up with warm pide or flatbreads.

Today, the perfect humus can be rustled up with just six ingredients and requires no cooking – only a food processor. For those more adventurous among you, use this recipe as a solid base from which to experiment with more flavours and spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, dried chilli flakes, or blended with red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, or caramelised-onion.

Ingredients – serves 6-8 as a starter:

2 x 400g cans of chickpeas (reserve the liquid and a few chickpeas for decoration)

4 tsp tahini (sesame seed paste)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp crushed sea salt

6 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)

3½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

To garnish:


Chopped coriander or parsley leaves

Black olives (optional)




  1. Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and tip into the food processor.
  2. Add the tahini, crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice and seven tablespoons of the reserved liquid from the cans. Turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the oil while it runs.
  3. When the mixture is fully combined, smooth and the taste to your satisfaction (add in more salt or lemon juice if needs be), tip it into a serving dish.
  4. Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and decorate with a few whole chickpeas. Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped coriander or parsley leaves, for colour. Add a few black olives to garnish too.
  5. Warm some pide bread, cut into finger strips and tuck in. Afiyet olsun!


With thanks to T-VINE’s food and restaurant critic Leyla Kazim for her humus recipe, words and photos, which were also featured by Jamie Oliver. For more fabulous food recipes, visit Leyla’s blog, or follow her on Twitter: @LeyLaLaa.

All photos by Leyla Kazim / The Cutlery Chronicles