Frugal Foreigner From Scratch: Homemade Hummus and Pita Bread

The first step to making from scratch in India is figuring out how to cook dry beans. This was my third attempt, and this time it turned out great! Here’s what I did:

  1. Soak dried beans overnight with plenty of water.  I was using dried garbanzo beans/chick peas for the hummus.
  2. Put soaked beans in a pot with plenty of water and a pinch of baking soda.
  3. Boil the beans until they are soft.

If you live somewhere that canned garbanzo beans can be purchased, I highly recommend doing that.  Dried beans are cheaper, but I’m not convinced that it’s worth the hassle.

Hummus Recipe
1 can garbanzo beans/chick peas (or 1 cup dried beans, soaked and cooked)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add olive oil until the hummus is the consistency you like, and season to taste. It’s that easy!

Making the pita from scratch was also a lot easier than I expected. It is basically the same as making homemade tortillas, except it’s a yeast and requires rising time. I’m not sure what makes the pita open up inside like it does (to make a pita pocket) but I tested out a few different cooking methods and found one that I think works the best. Oddly enough, it’s the same method I use for cooking tortillas.

Pita Bread Recipe
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix the yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water and let rest 10 minutes. Mix salt and 1 cup warm water. Put flour in a mixing bowl and make a well. Add the yeast water and mix. Add the salt water and mix thoroughly. Knead in the oil for 10 minutes. Cover and rise until double (1 1/2 to 2 hours).

Knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into balls the size of golf balls. Shape into balls, and roll to 3/8 inch thick. Prick each piece of rolled dough with a fork.

Cook on a dry or lightly-oiled griddle for 3 minutes each side. Keep cooked pitas covered with a towel so they don’t dry out.

I cut the pita bread into triangles and served them with carrots sticks and the hummus. I used it as a muffin tin meal for my daughter, which at least got her to try the hummus.


  1. Debbie Miller says

    I used to have lots of trouble with cooking garbanzos until I learned 2 tricks. 1 freeze the dried beans before using, so I store them there and use a crock pot. The freezing cuts the cooking time nod the crockpot makes life easier. My vegetarian daughter uses a pressure cooker. You are right, dried beans are a lot cheaper.


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