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My Perfect Hummus
Everyone who loves hummus knows that each region in the Middle East has their own version. Although the basic ingredients may be chickpeas and tahini, there are variations with added yoghurt, other spices and olive oil. After having experimented not only with different ingredients but also different methods of making it (food processor, versus blender), I now think this is my definite version. It’s lemony and garlicky and feels smooth and creamy even without added oil. We sold it at the bakery with the name “Lemony Hummus” and those of you in Singapore might still be buying it there!
The difference between that version and my homemade one is twofold:
I almost always cook chickpeas myself, rather than buying them in tins as that’s the only way you can get really soft chickpeas, which turn to mush when you press them between your fingers. You can use tinned chickpeas, and the result will still be very good, but a little coarser and less fluffy.
I use a blender rather than a food processor because everyone at home unanimously likes the smoother fluffier version, which is only possible with a blender. Would love to hear your opinions.
I love hummus, and luckily now so do the kids, as it’s the perfect snack food. It’s also excellent eaten as part of a larger mezze spread.
Recipe Update: Recently I tried Honey & Co’s method of pureeing the chickpeas whilst they are hot. It makes a big difference and makes the end result really fluffy and the structure more firm. Everyone at home thought it was an improvement! Try it.
My Perfect Hummus
The proportions in the recipe can be adjusted once you make and taste it, but the first time I suggest following the amounts closely. Judge the result before you make changes. I honestly think this amount of garlic, tahini and lemon juice is about perfect. The hot sauce is imperceptible but important. Ensure you use good tahini, and that the bottle isn’t too old, as it can harden and become lumpy if so. To cook chickpeas, see the notes below. Freeze left over chickpeas for using in salads and soups and leftover hummus also freezes well.
Crush the garlic and salt in pestle and mortar and grind until it’s a paste. Place all the ingredients, except the chickpea cooking liquid, in a blender (or a food processor fitted with the steel blade). Process until the chickpeas are pureed. You may have to stop the blender a few times and push down the mixture using a spatula. At this stage the mixture will look dry and coarse.
Now the fun begins. Add a tablespoon or two of the chickpea cooking liquid and blend again to let mixture “absorb” the liquid. As you do this you will see the mix becoming smoother and less dry. Continue adding the cooking liquid, a tablespoon at a time, until you get a smooth dropping consistency. The hummus will expand and become lighter in colour. See photo. Taste, for seasoning, and store in the fridge and serve at room temperature.
To serve as part of a mezze platter, spread the hummus in a shallow serving dish. Sprinkle with a few reserved chickpeas, a dash of sumac if you stock it, and some paprika. Dive in with some bread!
To cook your own chickpeas:
Soak 1 cup of chickpeas overnight in some water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
Next day, pour away the soaking water and place the chickpeas in a pressure cooker. Add some salt, and cover with 1/2 “ fresh water and cook for 25 minutes on low heat (turn down the heat once the pressure builds and set the timer for 25 minutes).
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can cook the chickpeas in a pan on the hob, but it will take a lot longer. I haven’t tried this, but 70-90 minutes is a good estimate. You want really soft chickpeas, so don’t undercook.