Remember the great hummus crisis of 2017, when the country collapsed from a temporary shortage of hummus? Ah, those were happy days… Anyway, now the problem is more likely that you can’t afford to go to the stores to buy hummus, but the solution is the same: if you have the ingredients, make it yourself.
Homework 10 minutesmore soak
Cook Zero to 2 hr+, depending on chickpeas
It serves 4
200 g of dried chickpeasor 1 can or jar of 400 g (see step 1)
1½ teaspoons of baking soda (optional)
3 garlic clovesor to taste
6 tablespoons of tahini
juice of 1 lemonor more to taste
1 generous pinch of ground cumin
Extra virgin olive oilto the top
1 Dried, canned or jarred?
If you use dried chickpeas, which is my preference, because I think they taste better, put them in a large bowl and cover with twice the volume of cold water.
If you’re using a can, skip ahead to step four: The jarred Spanish kind is expensive, but its buttery texture makes it worth it if you can afford it.
2 Soak the chickpeas
Add a teaspoon of baking soda, if using it, and let it soak for 24 hours; this will help the chickpeas soften faster and give the finished hummus a creamier consistency, but if you don’t have it available, or you really don’t like the taste, even in small amounts, leave it out.
3 Drain and cook the chickpeas
Drain and rinse the chickpeas, put them in a large saucepan with the remaining baking soda, and cover again with cold water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender, adding more water if necessary; this will probably take a couple of hours, depending on the age of the chickpeas; they should be easy to crush, but not crumble.
4 Drain again and peel
Let the chickpeas cool in the cooking liquid, then drain well, reserving the water. If using canned or jarred chickpeas, drain them and also keep their liquid. Reserve a tablespoon of chickpeas to use as a garnish. If you want a really silky end product, remove the papery skins (which should be falling off at this point anyway), rubbing the chickpeas between your fingers; It’s hard work, true, but I think it’s worth it.
5 Make the tahini paste
Peel and crush the garlic (I prefer three cloves for this amount of chickpeas, but you may want to add more or less depending on your tolerance for raw garlic) and put half in a small bowl.
Add the tahini and half the lemon juice to make a thick paste, then gradually add just enough of the reserved chickpea water to loosen it to a pourable liquid consistency.
6 Combine with chickpeas
Put this and the drained chickpeas in a food processor (or, if you’re using a hand blender, in a sturdy bowl; if you don’t have one, you can use a pestle and mortar to mash the chickpeas in batches, as long as you have the time and patience, although then you will have to pass it through a strainer so that the mixture has the right texture.
7 Puree the mixture
Mash the chickpeas until really smooth, then add the cumin, a good pinch of salt, and the rest of the garlic. With the motor still running, drizzle in enough of the reserved cooking water to get the desired consistency – the hummus should hold its shape, but not be heavy or sticky. Taste and add more salt, lemon or garlic, if you think it needs it.
8 Decorate and serve
Pour the hummus into a serving bowl and then drizzle a little olive oil down the sides. Finish by spreading the reserved chickpeas in the center; You can also add a pinch of sesame seeds, za’atar, sumac, or smoked paprika, if you fancy it, or even some fresh herbs like finely chopped cilantro or mint.
Purists may be appalled, but hummus is a very versatile base. Add cooked beetroot puree or other vegetables (roasted red peppers or squash are particularly good), or swap out some of the chickpeas for other beans or legumes, if you prefer. Homemade (or indeed store-bought) hummus is the perfect home for that nearly empty jar of harissa or that last handful of frozen peas, so get creative.