Anyone who knows me knows that I’m mad about chickpeas. I soak a batch weekly and always have homemade hummus in my fridge. It’s my go-to snack. When it comes to chickpeas, I don’t like the canned option, but each to their own. Hummus means chickpeas in Arabic. In Lebanon, there are many versions of hummus. There’s the famous hummus bi tahini, the following rustic hummus balila with cumin, and the list goes on. Served warm, hummus balila is a perfect winter’s dish.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (35 votes)


  • 220 ml olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 750 g cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 40 g pine nuts
  • handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • warm Lebanese bread, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then add the garlic. Quickly add the cumin and cook for no more than 30 seconds – you don’t want the garlic to burn and develop a bitter taste.

Add the cooked chickpeas and 100 ml olive oil. Mix well, cover and cook over low heat, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes or until the chickpeas are completely softened.

In the meantime, toast the pine nuts. Heat a dry frying pan over medium heat, add the pine nuts, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 1 minute or until toasted. Make sure you keep shaking the pan and pine nuts, and keep your eyes on them as they burn quickly.

Remove half the chickpeas and reserve for later. Mash the remaining chickpeas. This dish is supposed to be rustic; they don’t need to resemble mashed potatoes.

Add the chickpeas you removed earlier with the toasted pine nuts, coriander and remaining 100 ml olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and combine well.

Serve warm with Lebanese bread.


Recipe from Dirty Kitchen Secrets by Bethany Kehdy, with photographs by Sarka Babicka.