Trini-Syrian Hummus

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

The Middle Eastern chickpea dip called hummus is now as popular as peanut butter in the United States, a development that took place over the last ten years. In Trinidad, hummus has been eaten for nearly one hundred years, arriving with Syrian-Lebanese refugees in the late 1800s. As with many immigrant foods, Syrian hummus was adapted to local ingredients and flavors so that today it features seasoning peppers—or aji dulce—and shado beni (Mexican culantro). I like to use dried chickpeas that are reconstituted and cooked for this recipe because I believe they process to a nice smooth texture without being watery. However, you can use canned chickpeas if you desire.


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in 3 cups of water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small seasoning pepper (aji dulce*), stemmed and seeded
  • 6 leaves shado beni or cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • ¼ cup olive oil or more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt or to taste


  1. If using dried chickpeas, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Drain the chickpeas and add them to the pot. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the chickpeas until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain. (If using canned, drain and rinse in colander.)
  2. Place the cooked chickpeas, garlic, seasoning pepper, and shado beni in the bowl of a food processor and process into a coarse paste. Mix the lime juice and tahini together and add to the chickpea mixture.
  3. With processor on, drizzle in olive oil, adding enough to achieve a thick paste. Add water a teaspoon at a time until the hummus reaches a smooth, easily spreadable consistency. Scrape the hummus into a bowl and stir in the salt. Serve with pita bread or crudite.

*If you cannot find aji dulce, ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper is a good substitute.