I had hummus a million times in my life and I always enjoyed it. It was part of my childhood and we had it whenever we visited a Turkish or Arabic restaurant. Most of my life it was impossible to get hummus in the supermarket (this changed in the last few years) and we never made hummus at home. So whenever a restaurant served hummus, we ordered a plate of it on the side.
Since someone had the idea that hummus is super healthy you can buy it in almost every supermarket. Good news at first but the quality didn’t match my expectations. Usually, it was too sour (vinegar, seriously?) or had a ton of ingredients in it I can’t even pronounce the name of. Those less-than-satisfying experiences made me try to make it at home. It was never the perfect hummus I imagined but it was good, not too much work and still better than store bought. So I stuck with it for years.
Everything changed when I was invited to dinner at Ali’s mother. She served a delicious chicken with rice and some home made hummus on the side. It was perfectly balanced, creamy and tasted like no hummus I’ve ever had before. Of course, I couldn’t leave without asking her what the secret is and she was kind enough to show me. I expected a super complicated recipe with secret ingredients and hours of work but I was wrong. She explained to me that there are three secrets to good hummus:
- Always use dried chickpeas, never use the ones in cans.
- Use good quality tahini.
- Don’t overdo it with the garlic.
Armed with those words of advice, my hummus turned out to be completely different than before and I wouldn’t make it any other way. I had to work a bit on the quantities because, after 30 years of cooking, Ali’s mother didn’t weigh or measure any ingredients and couldn’t tell me. So after many tries and a few failures here’s my version of her recipe.
You can keep this hummus in the fridge for about 3-4 days and it can be made in large quantities, which is nice for parties.
- 200g / 1 cup Chickpeas (dried)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder (optional)
- 1/2 Lemon (or fresh lemon juice)
- salt (to taste)
- 60g / 1/4 cup tahina
- 1/2 clove garlic
- Olive Oil
- ground paprika or cumin (optional)
- fresh herbs (optional)
Prepare the day before
Put the chickpeas in a big pot and fill it with water until all chickpeas are covered. Fill in some more water and let the chickpeas soak overnight or at least for 6 hours.
Cook the chickpeas
Drain the chickpeas and fill the pot with lots of fresh water and cook the chickpeas on medium heat for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on your chosen soaking time. You can add some baking powder to the water to speed up the cooking process but this is totally optional. Cook them longer than you would cook them for other recipes and don't be afraid to cook them for too long. The longer they cook the softer the hummus will be.
When the chickpeas are done, drain them and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.
Prepare the hummus
Put the chickpeas with the juice of half a lemon and some salt into a blender. Add 1/2 cup of water and blend it until everything is creamy. If the blender can't properly mix the chickpeas or the hummus is not creamy enough add more water, a little at a time.
Add the tahini and a little bit of the garlic and keep blending. Taste your hummus and add a little more garlic until the taste is balanced. Don't add everything at once or it may be too much. If your mixer isn't able to blend it add a little more water. Be careful not to overdo it with the water or your hummus will become runny. The result should be incredibly creamy with no pieces of chickpeas should be left in the hummus.
Take a spoon and spread the hummus on a small plate and serve it with a drizzle of olive oil. You can garnish the hummus with ground paprika, cumin or parsley. Serve with white bread.
- f you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend Al Wadi Tahina from Lebanon.
- Use high-quality olive oil for this recipe, it will make a difference in the final result.
- With canned chickpeas, you can skip the soaking and cooking process and still get a decent hummus, but it won't taste the same. If you want to use canned chickpeas anyway make sure to rinse them really well before mixing. The water in the cans gives the hummus a weird flavour.
- Lebanese hummus has a pretty high chickpea to tahini ratio. You can use 1/3 cup or even more tahini to achieve a stronger tahini flavour, typical for Israeli hummus.
- You can cook dried chickpeas without soaking them first, just make sure to cook them for 1-2 hours longer.