Creamy, Dreamy Hummus From Ottolenghi Test Kitchen
- Prep time 12 hours 10 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
- Serves 6 as an appetizer
Hummus has made its appearance in many an Ottolenghi recipe, and for good reason. It is a universally loved food, so much so that it could practically be its own food group. Recently, Noor wrote a little ode to hummus, sharing her tips, tricks, and hummus hacks, and was amazed at the response. What seemed like second nature to her was not always the case for others and, all of a sudden, hummus regained its rightful place on the throne of foods-we-need-to-continue-talking-about.
A little frustrated at the widespread hummus mishaps, Noor took it upon herself to write a detailed step-by-step guide on how to achieve the ultimate creamy dreamy hummus, using both canned and dried chickpeas. “I’ve come to realize,” she wrote, “that you’re all a bunch of die-hard hummus lovers and this is the only way to your tahini-laden hearts.” Hummus, dear reader, is a science. Go through these tips carefully, pedantic as they may seem, and you will soon be on your way to the creamiest dreamiest hummus that ever did exist.
• If starting with dried chickpeas, cook them well. You want them to be very soft, with no bite. If using canned, simmer them in fresh water for a good 15 to 20 minutes after peeling—this will soften them further.
• Use warm chickpeas as these are softer and easier to blend, and are the first step to achieving a smooth hummus with no grit.
• Salt your chickpea water toward the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Also add a pinch of ground cumin to the water, which will give a subtle cumin flavor to your hummus. Save the cooking water. You can use it as a base for soups and stews but, more importantly, you’ll be using this flavorful cumin-chickpea water to thin out your hummus.
• Peel your chickpeas (i.e., remove the skins). We know it is a bit of an ask, but it really does make a difference. The chickpeas need to be agitated and there are two ways to do this. Either agitate your cooked chickpeas in their hot water, releasing the skins and using a sieve to scoop and discard those that rise to the surface. Alternatively, and this works best with canned chickpeas, spread them out between two kitchen towels and rub them together, without crushing them. The friction will release the skins, allowing you to easily pick them out and discard them.
• Add a couple of ice cubes to the food processor when blending your hummus. The cold shock of ice against the warm chickpeas will aerate your hummus to wonderful heights.
• Resist the temptation to add olive oil to the base of your hummus. There’s plenty of fat in the tahini to give you a beautifully homogenized hummus mixture. Adding olive oil will simply mess with the holy matrimony of chickpea and sesame paste, which you really don’t want. Do, however, pour a generous amount of good-quality olive oil on top of the hummus once you’ve plated it.
• Source the best-quality tahini you can find. We highly recommend tahini made from hulled sesame seeds and light in color, and typically made in the Levant region in countries such as Lebanon or Palestine. Avoid unhulled “sesame pastes” that are dark and gritty. We can’t stress enough how important it is to seek out authentic tahini; it really will make or break your hummus. The key to creamy dreamy is in the tahini, really.
• On dried vs canned: In the brave battle of dried vs canned, dried chickpeas won the OTK hummus wars, earning the crown for the creamiest dreamiest hummus, and the hearts of the whole team. It is worth noting, however, that not everyone has the luxury of time to soak dried chickpeas, and we firmly believe that you can achieve a close runner- up using canned chickpeas . . . provided you follow our tips and tricks.
Serve this alongside pillowy pitas and vegetables of your choosing. —Food52
Test Kitchen Notes
Recipe excerpted with permission from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi, published by Clarkson Potter © 2021. —The Editors
(200 grams) soaked overnight in plenty of water and 1 teaspoon baking soda, OR 2 (15 oz/425g) cans of chickpeas, drained (17 oz/480g total)
baking soda (if using dried chickpeas)
Kosher salt, to taste
7 to 9 tablespoons
(120 to 150 grams) tahini
garlic clove, minced, or more to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, chopped herbs, toasted nuts, rose harissa or your choice of chile paste, for topping (optional but recommended)
- If using dried chickpeas, drain them well after soaking, then put them into a medium saucepan, for which you have a lid, with the 1/2 tsp baking soda and enough water to cover by about 1 1/2 inches/4cm. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat, skimming the scum from the surface as needed, then turn the heat down to medium-low, cover with the lid, and simmer from anywhere between 30 and 50 minutes. This will differ greatly depending on your chickpeas, so check them at the 20-minute mark. Toward the last 15 minutes of cooking time, salt the water nicely and add the cumin. Cook the chickpeas until they are very soft.
- Using a slotted spoon or spider, agitate the chickpeas, giving them a gentle shake in the water, allowing the skins to be released and rise to the surface. Discard the skins (don’t worry too much if you don’t catch them all). Skip to step 5.
- If using canned chickpeas, spread them out between two kitchen towels and use your hands to vigorously rub the towels together for a few minutes. Don’t press down too hard on the chickpeas; you don’t want to crush them. Lift the top towel, to see how you’re doing—the friction should have caused the chickpea skins to be released. Discard the skins.
- Put the canned (and now peeled) chickpeas into a saucepan with enough water to cover, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of cumin. Simmer for 15 minutes, until soft.
- Drain the chickpeas over a bowl, saving the water. Put the warm chickpeas into a food processor with 7 tbsp/120g of tahini, the garlic, lemon juice, a couple of ice cubes (scant 1 oz/25g worth), 2 tablespoons of reserved chickpea water and a good pinch of salt. Blitz until smooth(ish), then check on the hummus. You might need more tahini, garlic, lemon, and salt and very likely more chickpea water. Add a bit of each as you need. Don’t be shy about adding more tahini—each brand differs and may require you to use more. Blitz the hummus until very smooth, a few minutes at least. Don’t worry about the hummus being too loose; it will thicken as it sits.
- When ready, spread the hummus in a shallow bowl, creating a well in the center. (If not serving right away, store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days.) Top with a generous glug of olive oil, then personalize your hummus as you wish. We sometimes add herbs, toasted nuts, or rose harissa, but these are just suggestions. Once you get the base right, hummus knows no bounds.
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