Hummus Recipe

Description

A paste based on chickpeas and tahini (sesame seed paste) used typically as a vegetable, spread or dip. In the UK at present it is typically bought and served in small (e.g. 200 g) tubs. This recipe makes a pudding basin full (about 2 kg) & tastier. It is also slightly less fattening per unit volume.

Summary

Ingredients

Dried chickpeas (preferably dark) 500 g
Tahini (preferably dark) about 150 g
Olive oil about 100 ml
Garlic about half a bulb
Cumin seeds about 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds about 1 tbsp
Black pepper about 1 tsp
Marmite about 1 tbsp
Lemon juice about 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Water as required for desired consistency

An alternative which is more expensive but elimates soaking time and reduces cooking time is to use 1.5 kg of ready cooked tinned chickpeas instead of the dried chickpeas.

Equipment

Saucepan (preferably with lid). Serving bowl (or serve directly from the saucepan if serving hot rather than putting cold on a buffet). Knife, spoon, spatular or similar to mix with. Spice grinder (or use ready ground spices). Electric liquidiser, blender or 'food processor' (or a hand powered one but that will take longer).

Detailed Instructions

  1. If not using ready cooked chickpeas, do the following sub-section to cook them (if using ready-cooked tinned chickpeas, just open the tin cans and drain them).
    1. Put the 500 g of dried chickpeas in the saucepan (or multiple smaller saucepans if you don't have one big enough).
    2. Add water to amply cover.
    3. Leave several hours (e.g. overnight) to soak.
    4. Drain the chickpeas (this soaking water reputedly contains substances which are not beneficial to digestion and thereby increase chickpeas' flatulent effect).
    5. Add water to amply cover.
    6. Bring to the boil, cover (to reduce fuel use) and simmer for 2 h, adding more water if necessary (i.e. if more water boils off or is absorbed by the chickpeas that you estimated) and stirring occasionally (so the chickpeas at the cooler top of the pan don't take unnecessarily long to cook).
    7. Drain the liquid off (but retain it this time, as it can be used instead of some of the water when diluting the humus).
  2. Put the chickpeas into the blender (it might need several batches as domestic blenders are typically small compared to a serving basin).
  3. Add the 150 g of tihini, 100 ml of olive oil, 2 tbsp of lemon juice & 1 tbsp of Marmite to the blender.
  4. Peal the half bulbful of garlic cloves (I find it easier if they are microwaved until the skins loosen first, this also makes them less harsh in flavour but take care as they can be burningly hot when straight out of the microwave) and add them to the blender.
  5. Grind the 1 tbsp of cumin, 1 tbsp of coriander & 1 tsp of black pepper and add them to the blender.
  6. Try blending it. If your blender (like mine) cannot cope with such dry ingredients, add water until the mix is blendable.
  7. Blend it to a smooth paste.
  8. Put the paste in a saucepan.
  9. Add water to get it to a consistency where it can boil without sticking & burning at the bottom (it does not matter if it is a bit too sloppy as it will firm up in cooking).
  10. Bring to the boil, cover (to reduce fuel use) and simmer for 1 h, stirring occasionally. You will probably need to add more water to maintain the consistency as the paste absorbs the water and swells up. You might need to add so much that the increase in volume it exceeds your pan volume and requires splitting between more pans. (Actually this cooking stage is optional. The ingredients have already been cooked beforehand or are edible raw. However it helps to dilute the hummus and the extra cooking of the chickpeas reduces their flatulent effect.)
  11. During or after the cooking mix in salt (to your taste versus health preference) and water (to your consistency preference, noting that will get firmer after cooling and settling).
  12. If not serving hot as a main meal component, put it in the serving bowl and allow to cool.

Notes

Origin

I first thought of making humus when I went to a food party after an Israeli folk dancing event where the main dish was a large amount of delicious hummus cooked in big pans on a domestic stove (I doubt my hummus is as good as that but at least mine is probably tastier than supermarket hummus). That was in 2001. It was not until 2004 that I tried making my own hummus.

My recipe out started as a mixture of several different & conflicting Greek, Turkish, Israeli & Indian recipes I found on the WWW and on the back of ingredient packets. The common features were the boiled chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and salt. The rest was various flavourings and various cooking methods. I halved the typical amount of olive oil & tahini relative to chickpeas because those are largely fat and therefore unfashionably fattening & unhealthy if eaten in large quantities (tahini was also by far the the most expensive ingredient). I missed out the salt as that is unfashionable too in the UK for health reasons. I also used far less water as it seemed too sloppy & missed out the garlic simply because I had run out. I took it to a Greek dance & food party. Some people liked it but I got complaints about it being too firm, lacking salt and lacking garlic.

The firmness I easily fix the next time just by adding more water. My mistake was not to realise that it it got firmer after I had put it in the serving bowl as it cooled down and settled down (I guess that was mainly from the chickpea starch spreading out into the water more). The lack of garlic was fixed by adding the garlic as originally intended. The salt was a problem. I tried a monosodium glutamate instead as it enhances flavour (and gives an umami flavour of its own that I like) more than sodium chloride per unit of sodium so less of the harmful sodium was needed. It worked. However I had a complaint about the monosodium glutamate as that is even more unfashionable in the UK due to an old spurious health scare and its chemical sounding name. Hence I replaced it with sodium (salt) & glutamate (seaweed) separately. Chemically it is still equivalent to monosodium glutamate because the same ions are present in solution but it upsets sensibilities less. The result was popular when taken to a party.

The 3rd time I made it I realised that Marmite would also provide glutamate without the odd looking green/black flecks in the hummus and with more flavour. Hence my current recipe.