Hummus translates to the word chickpea, in Arabic and here I’m sharing a recipe for chickpeas with tahini, which has become a popular dip, the world over. It’s very simple to make, all it is, is a handful of ingredients pulverised to a fine, velvety smooth dip. Lots of recipes call for it to be made from canned chickpeas, but honestly, if you try it from dry chickpeas you’ll never go back. Whatever you do, be weary of some of those grainy, supermarket brands (you shouldn’t be buying hummus, it’s just too easy to make) that actually include oil (not even olive oil) and sometimes the ratio is even more than tahini (sesame paste). Oil of any kind should not go into hummus, especially olive oil as it is overpowering and muddles the taste. The wholesome fat that is used to create this luscious dip is tahini but olive oil is drizzled for serving. You can double or triple the quantity of chickpeas, cook them as below, then freeze them in small batches so you have them ready to make hummus in minutes when you really need it or in other recipes, where called for.
So, quickly what are the key factors to making a velvety-smooth, authentic hummus:
Chickpeas from dry (nope, canned just isn’t the same).
Cook the chickpeas till they are soft, a pressure cooker yields the best results.
Skin the chickpeas if you are so inclined. Shocking them in cold water and discarding any skins without any added attention will definitely improve the texture.
Keep the oil outside the hummus. Chickpeas should only be mating with tahini, in this case.
Season and garnish to taste.
Here’s a recent video in which I show you how to prepare hummus.
Hummus B’ Tahini
For the hummus:
250g/9 oz dry chickpeas, soaked will make 500g (makes about a 300g tub)
1/4 tsp baking soda (optional)
150ml/scant 2/3 cups tahini
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tsp dry cumin, Allspice, or 7-spices
2 lemons, more or less to taste
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt to taste
Paprika, Coriander, finely chopped, pita bread, to serve.
Begin by sorting thru the chickpeas and getting rid of any rotted chickpeas. Rinse them well under cold water. Put in a large bowl and fill with twice the amount of water. Be sure to use a big enough bowl as the chickpeas will expand. Let it sit overnight. Now, if your thinking: “What a waste of time and energy! I’ll just get canned chickpeas and save time and energy!” Well, yes you could, but you’ll just be wasting the TASTE! C’mon it’s not that bad! You can sort thru the chickpeas while watching your favorite TV show… don’t get too distracted though!
The next day, rinse the soaked chickpeas really well under running water, add the chickpeas to a deep pot (I recommend a pressure cooker which will drastically reduce the cooking time, follow manual instructions) and fill the pot with water to cover the chickpeas. Now double the water. If you’re not using a pressure cooker you may need to use baking soda to help soften the chickpeas and reduce cooking time, though I prefer not to as it lends a soapy taste. Place pot on medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 1.5 hours- 2 hours, depending on the age of the chickpeas. Remove any of the white foam with a slotted spoon. Chickpeas are ready when they smash between two fingers with the gentlest pressure applied. Drain chickpeas. If you’re feeling so inclined, then I do recommend shocking the cooked chickpeas under cold running water, then cover them with cold water and swish them a few times with your hands. Discard the skins that have loosened. This helps in achieving a smoother, less grainy, velvety smooth hummus.
Throw the garlic cloves and a little bit of salt in the food processor and pulse a couple of times. Add the chickpeas (reserve a handful for garnish, if you’d like), pulse a few more times (maybe add a little water here to get the blades moving), then add tahini, lemon juice and spice of choice (allspice traditional to Lebanon) and process until a creamy consistency is reached. You may find that you need to add some more water to loosen the mixture, drizzle it in little by little, till you reach the texture you’re after.
If you like your hummus more zesty, then feel free to add more at this point. I like to leave my hummus to rest for an hour or two, and then taste. This allows all the flavors to sit and you can then better gauge if you will need more lemon to your taste. Hummus will tend to thicken overnight and you can loosen the mixture by adding water or more lemon, to taste. Hummus tastes the best when made fresh but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good days after it’s made. It’s incredibly convenient and necessary to have hummus in your fridge throughout the week. Home-made hummus can keep up to 7 days, if it is not consumed before then.
To serve the hummus: Transfer to a shallow serving bowl and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. Into the well, drizzle olive oil, sprinklings of paprika, reserved chickpeas, if using and finely chopped coriander. Serve with warm Arabic bread.