I’ve made a lot of hummus over the years and I’ve used quite a few different techniques in search of the perfect hummus. For a while, I was a convert to the peeling chickpeas for the ultimate smooth and creamy hummus but, whichever way you peel your chickpeas, this requires quite a bit of commitment and work. This technique where the chickpeas are soaked with bicarbonate soda and then cooked with more bicarbonate soda, raises the pH level and softens the skins; the still warm chickpeas are then processed with a tahini sauce, making the smoothest and creamiest hummus ever, without the hassle of peeling chickpeas.
This recipe comes from Michael Solomonov’s Israeli restaurant Zahav in Philadelphia. My usual hummus is fairly heavy on the lemon garlic but the Israeli version is more about the tahini and chickpeas. Whole unpeeled cloves of garlic are processed with lemon juice and salt, strained off to make the tahini sauce, creating a hummus of subtle, silky smooth richness. For purists like Solomonov, the secret to a great hummus is to eat it the day it is made without refrigeration. In an ideal world, this may be the way to go but I find this hummus, where the raw garlic is strained off, actually keeps better than my regular hummus. One of my son’s (and mine!) favourite breakfasts is flat bread with homemade hummus. I haven’t quite got to the level where I will get up at five to make the hummus for the day – I’m obsessive about my hummus but not quite that obsessive. For all those chickpea peelers out there, my advice is to give it up and try this simple genius of a recipe.
Adapted from Food52
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda (baking soda), separated
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- ⅓ cup (or more) lemon juice
- ¼ cup iced water
- 1 teaspoon salt flakes, plus more to taste
- ⅔ cup good quality tahini
- ¼ teaspoon (or more) ground cumin
- Olive oil, for serving
- Chopped parsley – paprika or sumac for serving.
- Place chickpeas in bowl, cover with plenty of water and 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda. Soak chickpeas overnight, next day drain chickpeas and rinse well.
- Place chickpeas in a large pot, with remaining teaspoon of bicarbonate soda and cover with water by about 8cm (4 inches). Bring chickpeas to boil, skim off any foam that rises to the top. Some of the chickpea skins will also rise to the top, so you can scoop them off as well. Lower heat, cover pot and simmer gently for about an hour until the chickpeas are completely tender. Don’t worry if the chickpeas are falling apart – this will make your chickpeas creamier. Drain and set aside.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, make the tahini sauce. Place unpeeled garlic, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon and salt in a food processor, until coarsely pureed. Allow to steep for ten minutes so the the garlic mellows in the lemon juice. Strain lemon juice through a fine sieve into a small bowl, press garlic against the sieve to release all the juice.
- Return strained lemon juice to the bowl, add tahini, and process until combined, keep processing and gradually add ¼ cup of iced water, 1 tablespoon at a time until tahini sauce is smooth, pale and thick.
- Add chickpeas and cumin, and process for a few minutes until hummus is smooth – keep scraping down bowl and continue processing until hummus is light and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon, salt and cumin if desired.
- To serve, spread hummus in a shallow bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley, paprika or sumac. You can top your hummus with some seeded finely chopped tomato and toasted pinenuts as well.