HUMMUS

HUMMUS FUCKING ROCKS. It’s a piece of piss to make and so very cheap that I am amazed by the tiny tubs they sell in supermarkets and the prices they charge.

Basically, to make it, you need a shit-load of chickpeas (garbanzo beans, if you’re in America). Dried are best, but use tinned if you need to.

Soak your dried chickpeas and overnight in loads of water (they will swell). Some people, myself included, add a teaspoonful of bicarb and a teaspoonful of salt to this water.

Change the water, adding a teaspoonful of salt to the fresh water, and boil or pressure cook, the soaked chickpeas until they are soft.

Drain the cooked chickpeas, reserving the stock.

Set a few cupfuls of cooked chickpeas aside.

Then add:

A jar of tahini (for 1 kilo of dried chickpeas) – an essential ingredient (Dark or light, doesn’t matter; both nice), which adds a dry note to the taste and improves the texture. Tahini has a habit of separating and the solids sinking to the bottom of the jar, and mine had to be practically chiseled out, but that’s OK.

Lemon juice (I’m lucky enough to have a lemon tree in my front yard, so I used the juice from the lemon crop, which I’d frozen in ice cube trays, but have no objection to using bottled lemon juice. Lemons can be ridiculously expensive, and you’ll need far more than you think.) Add until it tastes a bit lemony.

Garlic which has been crushed to a pulp with salt. Some people, myself included, believe that the salt partly cures the garlic, knocking off some of that raw taste. (During an office discussion over this a couple of years ago, one of my former managers, a bit of a funny bugger, got the right hump over the very suggestion of this and tried to start an argument – it seemed to me an odd hill to choose to die on, especially as I don’t really give a fuck what you do with your own hummus.) If you’re planning to freeze some of the hummus, leave the garlic out and add it after you’ve defrosted.

Salt.

Black pepper.

Blend, blend, blend. Get it as smooth as you can. I use a stick blender. Add some of the cooking stock, if you need to. Don’t leave it too thick. In fact, make it a bit wetter than you think you need to, if that makes sense.

Once blended, stir the saved whole chickpeas through.

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle paprika and drizzle oil on the top (this not only adds another taste/visual/texture element, but it stops it developing a crust.)

Keeps in the fridge for about a week.

I saw a television show recently where Ottolenghi went to Tel Aviv’s best hummus shop and had a big bowl of hummus, served with chunks of raw onion; sprinkled with the juice from pickled chillis and scooped up with fresh pitta. Fuck me, it looked good. I didn’t have any pickled chillis, so I substituted dill cucumbers and their juice, along with a segmented brown onion and a Lebanese pitta (I always keep some in the freezer.) This too was delicious.

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