So why I am I posting a hummus recipe?
Quite simply because there are a lot of bad recipes around.
Extremely well known, popular, easy to make and adapted past the point of recognition. There are a lot of online recipes in existence. Long gone are the days of my Dad in the 1980’s trying to source decent olive oil and tahini in the UK. For the oil, he was told to try the chemist. Olive oil was sent by fedex from the trees of friends and relatives. Tahini was brought over from Jerusalem in suitcases, once leaking and ruining a case full of clothes.
Throughout the Middle East, hummus is eaten fresh for breakfast with seasonal pickles and fresh vegetables, pita and often falafel. In the UK, it is more of a snack / dip / sandwich filler. It is smoked, mixed with beetroot and other veg, omits the chickpeas (always amusing to me, as hummus translates to chickpea) and so forth. This is all fair game; I have nothing against the evolution of recipes. Adaptation and experimentation is part of the enjoyment of cooking and recipes do not and should not stand still. Plus if you have something to use up, why not mix it in. However I do believe that getting the original ‘right’ can make future experimentation more successful.
Many of the recipes I have seen around, do not have the right amount of salt or lemon, or have a strong tahini taste. Or are just extremely bland. It is always surprising to me how much can go wrong with the simplest of recipes.
I was raised on home made hummus and wanted to share my top tips for creamy and delicious hummus and most importantly with a flavour like that you would eat in a Palestinian home or one of the many hummus and falafel joints around Jerusalem.
Tips below: –
- Make sure that your chickpeas are very soft before blending. This will aid a creamy texture. If you use jarred or canned chickpeas, rinse them well and boil them before blending until they are easily mashed with a fork. Usually there are no skins to deal with.
- If you are using dried chickpeas, I would recommend soaking a large quantity (say 2-3kg if you have a big enough pot) and storing 400g portions in the freezer, as it is an effort to do the soaking and boiling. You can then defrost the chickpeas and boil them to ‘freshen’ them up before making hummus.
- Soak the chickpeas for at least 1 day. I usually do 2 or 3 days to soften the chickpeas very well and reduce boiling time. If you are soaking them for more than 1 day, rinse daily and change the water to keep the peas fresh.
- Boil with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda, remove as many skins as you can whilst boiling (skim them off with a spoon along with the frothy white stuff that rises to the top.
- Boil them until they are very soft and easily mash with a fork. This could be between 1.5 – 2.5 hours depending on your peas. Strain off the liquid and freeze it. It can be used as an egg replacer in vegan baking or to thicken stews, soups or for making fattet hummus on another day.
- Use a high quality and creamy tahini. This will make or break the taste of your hummus.Try to find a good Lebanese brand, if not in a local Turkish / Middle Eastern grocery store then online. You can buy in bulk and as long as it is stored in a dry and cool place, it will keep indefinitely. In the UK I usually buy Al Nakhil (beige container green lid). It has a very creamy consistency. Avoid lumpy textured dark tahini. Choose one that looks light in colour and creamy. Before use, always give it a good stir to mix the oil well with the paste as they separate in the jar.
- When making hummus, it is necessary for the majority of food processors to use as little liquid as possible at first to really pressurise the chickpeas to as smooth a texture as possible. Add the liquid slowly. If you add it too quickly, you will end up with lumpy, sloppy hummus.
- Blenders – if you have a super sharp bladed, high end blender like a vita-mix, you can get away with throwing all the ingredients in and having a very successful result. If you are using a stick blender, a food processor or a basic blender, it will probably not be so forgiving. Consider your equipment before you start. If your blender is not made for producing nut butters then you must add the ingredients slowly and work harder.
- Process the chickpeas as much as possible before adding liquid.
- In between adding liquid, manually stir the ingredients to re distribute the hummus in the bowl.
- If you are planning to eat this over a few days do not add garlic, which will give the hummus an unpleasant odour after a day in the fridge. I personally never add garlic (I love garlic just not in hummus). Same for any fresh herbs, which will make it spoil quicker. These are better to be chopped and added to the portion you are going to eat fresh.
- Always serve at room temperature, never fridge cold
- Good additions for serving – finely chopped parsley, whole chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, sumac, paprika and cumin lightly sprinkled, fried pine nuts for a special occasion.
- Do not skimp on the salt. It will be tasteless and bland.
Serving – this makes enough for a generous breakfast portion for 4 people and enough left for a tub for snacking on / adding a dollop to meals during the week.
750 g chickpeas cooked weight
Optional – some additional chickpeas set aside for decorating
100 ml tahini paste
150 ml lemon juice (that is usually about 4 juicy lemons for me)
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 level tsp unrefined sea salt
Water (only for adding at the end if necessary)
Blender, food processor or stick blender.
See above for comments on blenders.
- Prepare your chickpeas as described above in the tips.
If you are using a high speed / powered blender
Add the chickpeas, salt, cumin, half the tahini, half the lemon and blend. When it is well blended (it will be thick) add the olive oil, the rest of the tahini and lemon. Blend again. Mine at this point is a good texture without extra water. However, if the hummus is still a little thick, add cold water carefully 1 tablespoon at a time. Blend again and taste as you go. The texture should be a creamy puree (but still with some stiffness to it).
For a standard food processor / stick blender
Make sure your chickpeas are extremely soft. Processing whilst still warm will also help break them down faster.
Add the chickpeas, salt and cumin to the bowl. Process until the chickpeas are very finely blitzed. You want them as finely mashed as possible. You may need to stir a few times during this process to redistribute them. This first stage is crucial, blend really thoroughly and for as long as it takes to get a fine, very thick textured chickpea paste. Once they are as finely blitzed as possible, slowly start to add the liquids. Add half the tahini and 50 ml of lemon. Process again, redistributing the hummus as required. It should be a very thick paste now. Add the rest of the tahini and another 50ml of lemon juice and blend again. Once your hummus is looking smooth (but still thick) add the last 50 ml of lemon juice and the olive oil.
Taste and if your hummus is a little thick, add 1 tbsp water, blend again, taste and add more as required until you have a thick but light and creamy puree.
2. Regarding texture; some people prefer a thicker puree and others a very silky lighter puree. Taste as you go and note down the amount of water (if any) that was added to get to your preferred texture
3. At this point I take out the amount we are going to eat right away and the rest is stored in the fridge. I find it stays fresh for 4/5 days.
For a decadent breakfast – decorate with whole chickpeas, sprinkle with cumin, sumac, paprika, chopped parsley, extra virgin olive oil and 100g of pine nuts (best fried in 1 -2 tbsp ghee or otherwise 2-3 tbsp refined olive oil).
Serve with pickles, fresh cut vegetables, olives and fresh warm pita.