Monday, January 16, 2012

The Very Best Hummus

I've been obsessed with the idea of hummus lately. I've been reading articles devoted to hummus. I've read many recipes and tried many varieties (store bought and home-made).

Usually I am a bit disappointed because my homemade versions aren't as smooth and creamy as the store-bought varieties.

But all this changed after an article I read in Vegetarian Times. It suggested that the secret to perfect hummus was that you warm the chickpeas before pureeing them. Not only did it transform the chickpeas into a super smooth dip, but it also seemed to "tame" the raw garlic flavour. My recipe finally looked and tasted perfect!

Of course, I didn't agree with all the ingredients of the Vegetarian Times recipe- they used only water to thin the mixture and used way too much tahini. I prefer an olive oil and water mixture and just a hint of tahini in the background.

For all you like-minded, obsessive hummus-eaters, here is my perfect recipe. Yours might have more lemon, or more tahini but I think you will enjoy this method...

The Very Best Hummus
You really need a food processor or blender to get the best texture. It can be made in a matter of minutes!
You can use canned or cooked chickpeas. I usually have cooked chickpeas waiting in the freezer. I refresh the frozen chickpeas in hot water on the stove, but you can also quickly warm them in the microwave just before pureeing. Tahini can be left out if desired.
Hummus usually firms up in the fridge, so I like to make sure I add a bit more water at the end so it makes a softer consistency.

1 large clove garlic, cut in half, remove middle green sprout
3 cups warmed chickpeas
3 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
3-4 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
up to 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. In food processor or blender, blend garlic until minced. Add warmed chickpeas and process for a minute or two. Add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 cup water. Add additional water up to 1/2 cup total. Blend until completely smooth. Season with salt.
2. Spoon into serving dish and garnish with ground paprika, chopped parsley or a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Tara's Super Star Version: My friend Tara told me she added preserved lemons to her hummus. I also love the addition- I added the rind only (scrape out the super-salty flesh) of 1/3-1/2 of a preserved lemon peel. Yum! For a simple preserved lemon recipe: