Mama’s Punjabi Recipes: Hummus Punjabi Tarike Di (Hummus Punjabi Style)

The beauty of North Indian cuisine is that it has adapted through the centuries to all the influences from foreign elements like the Greeks, Persians and Mongols who invaded and then settled in the region. So, several delectable dishes that we claim as Indian have their origins in other countries, like the gulab jamun (from the Persian words gol (flower) and ab (water)) which is derived from a Persian dish and jalebi which is an Arabic or Persian dish.

And this trend continued to recent history with Chinese, Portuguese, French, English and even Dutch foods which Indians have adapted in their own ways. More current trends in the large cities have led to greater consumption of Italian pastas and Mediterranean dishes like falafel and hummus, once again made to suit the Indian palate.

Though people enjoy ready-to-serve versions of these at home, like Maggi noodles, not all are familiar with how to make them.

Hummus is one of these dishes whose primary ingredient – safayd chole (white garbanzos) is well known to Indians, yet it is never made at home. This recipe has a Punjabi twist to it, and the results are very tasty.

India is the world’s largest producer of the kabuli variety of chole (chickpeas or garbanzo beans) which are also grown in Southern Europe, Northern Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Chile. Chickpeas are high in protein, polyunsaturated fat, zinc, folate, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium. So hummus should be a familiar dish to Indians, but it should suit the Indian palate.

Though the traditional way of cooking chole is to soften them in a bowl of water and then boil them, this requires a lot of preparation and cooking time. For a small amount, and for this recipe, it’s more convenient to use pre-cooked canned chickpeas.


400 gm can of chole (chickpeas)
4 tbsp dahin (plain yogurt)
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup nimbu ras (lemon juice)
Spices (to taste): namak (salt), hari mirch (green chillies), dhania (coriander) leaves


1. Open the can and run the chole through a strainer and discard the water.
2. Do not add salt as the chole are already cooked in salted water.
3. Throw chole in a grinder and run for one minute.
4. Now add the lemon juice, olive oil and 3 tbsp of yogurt and then blend till it is smooth. If you want to make the hummus thinner, add another tbsp. of yogurt.
5. If desired, add the green chillies and coriander leaves at the same time as the other ingredients and blend in.
6. Scoop out of the blender, pour into a bowl and let it chill in the fridge before serving. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper on the top.
7. To store for upto five days, place in a jar with a screw-on top and leave in the fridge.



Since chickpeas are such a hard bean, it is important to soak them overnight so that they will fluff up and get softer to cook with. This cuts down the preparation time and usually you will boil them later.

But sometimes people will forget to do so and then they have to resort to using a pressure cooker to make sure the chickpeas become properly tender. In these instances, if you forget to soak them overnight, just place the chickpeas in boiled water and you can reduce the soaking time to an hour.

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Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur (since renamed Faisalabad), India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.