Hummus (the continuing saga)

Over the past year or so we have been making hummus fairly frequently.  While we have other recipes for hummus posted on the blog (as in here, and here), they just left us a little flat.  We both wanted to figure out a way to use dry chickpeas, and also a way to make the delicious and rich hummus we love without cups of oil.  After some experimentation and a healthy dose of google-fu, Chris hit upon the secret for super smooth hummus from dried chickpeas.

Baking soda.

Yes, you read that right, baking soda in the cooking liquid makes those tough chickpea skins soft and leads to a silky smooth hummus. The other secret is really good tahini and olive oil.  We usually get our tahini, chickpeas and olive oil at a local Indian/Middle Eastern market, and if you have one in your area, I recommend you start there.  We get the Sultan brand of olive oil. IMG_2953The tahini we found at the local Kroger was bitter and unpleasant, but the tahini from the Indian grocer is comparatively sweeter and has a pleasant nuttiness to it.  The best comparison I have is that it is really like natural peanut butter, but with sesame.  It made a huge difference with getting hummus that’s really balanced in flavors.  We have been getting the Gesas brand.

This is the brand we use.

This is the brand we use.

So with that in mind, let’s get to cooking!

Ingredients

1 lb dried chickpeas, soaked overnight

1 tbsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

scant 1/2 cup olive oil

scant 1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

1/2-1 cup cooking liquid from chickpeas

1/2 tsp garlic powder (or more to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Butter, olive oil, red onions, aleppo pepper, or paprika to serve

Method

Cook the chickpeas in water with baking soda and 1 tsp salt until soft, typically around 45-60 minutes.  Keep on eye on the pot, the baking soda will made any boil over quite foamy and spectacular (oops).  When the chickpeas are done they will be very soft, as will the seed coats.  Take the pan off the heat, save a cup of the cooking liquid, and strain the chickpeas into a colander.  Put the chickpeas in the bowl of your food processor and start processing.  Add the oil, and keep pureeing. Add your tahini, lemon juice, and seasonings and blend some more.  At this point, start drizzling in your cooking liquid.  Keep going until your hummus has a smooth, but not overly runny consistency.  The beans are still warm, so the hummus will be softer at this point than it would be out of the fridge.  If you like your hummus cold, err on the side of slightly softer than you think.  It will tighten up in the fridge.  Adjust the seasonings, and you’re ready to either chill it for later, or serve warm.

Hummus.  Even better with onion

Hummus. Even better with onion

We love this hummus warm, topped with red onion sautéed in butter or ghee and dusted with aleppo or paprika.  If we serve it cold, then I tend to opt for a drizzle of olive oil and a good dusting of paprika and Turkish seasoning.  With a pile of warm pita, and a few olives it makes a fantastic lunch too.