Whenever we go to visit Dan’s younger brother and his family in New York, our sweet sister-in-law always makes it a point to stock up on hummus from the Middle Eastern specialty food shop in their neighborhood, because she knows how much we love it. It’s the best we’ve ever had, and we’ve never been able to find anything that comes anywhere close here in Dallas. So Dan finally decided to look no further than our very own kitchen, and researched a bunch of recipes for us to make hummus at home. He chose and adapted this recipe, mainly because it divulges the secret to “ethereally smooth hummus” (so smooth that it’s the clever name of the recipe), the likes of which we’ve only ever encountered on our family visits to Brooklyn. It may sound strange and unnecessary, but the key to getting butter-smooth consistency in homemade hummus is to peel the chickpeas before putting them through the food processor. Now that we know this trick for getting foolproof smooth texture, the only challenging aspect of making homemade hummus is experimenting with flavors and varieties. But that’s also the fun part. We started with a very basic version flavored with garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt, olive oil and cumin. This will be our go-to favorite, but we look forward to trying other versions and flavor combinations — maybe a spicy one with jalapeno, or a peppery one with roasted garlic and red bell pepper.
Peeling chickpeas (a/k/a garbanzo beans) isn’t hard and isn’t even as time-consuming as it sounds, especially if you have
homegrown slaves kids who enjoy helping out in the kitchen. Just gently pinch one end of the chickpea and the clear outer skin comes right off. Dan has his own technique: hold the pea between your thumb and next 2 fingers, with the pointy end towards your palm, and “pop” the chickpea out of its skin. He gets into a rhythm and rather enjoys peeling chickpeas, but he’s weird like that.
When you see how many skins come out of 2 cans worth of chickpeas, it’s no wonder that hummus made from unpeeled chickpeas can be a bit grainy.
Although we haven’t tried it ourselves yet, some say that using dried chickpeas (cooked at home) instead of the canned variety makes for even better tasting hummus. There are many methods for cooking chickpeas, including soaking them overnight, then sauteeing them with baking soda for a few minutes and boiling them until tender (20-40 minutes); or cooking them with baking soda in a slow-cooker on high for about 3 hours. We may try the slow-cooker method next time.
Blend the peeled chickpeas in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, until powdery clumps form — about a minute.
Then add the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic (peeled and roughly chopped), cumin and salt to the food processor and blend until the ingredients are pureed.
With the food processor running, slowly pour water into the top of the machine until the texture of the hummus becomes smooth, light and creamy texture. We initially added about a tablespoon of water at a time and found that around 3-4 tablespoons total gave us the consistency we liked. Taste the hummus and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, lemon or other flavors as needed. But go a little easy on the adjustments — we found that the hummus “blooms” a bit as it settles in the fridge after a while, and certain flavors become more pronounced. Salt and garlic, in particular. And in case you were wondering, over-salted hummus is pretty much not edible (even for a salt-aholic like me.)
Allow the hummus to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. To serve, drizzle with a little bit of good olive oil, maybe sprinkle with a dash of paprika or red pepper flakes for spice, and garnish with crackers, pita bread or veggies for dipping. And be glad you took the time to peel those chickpeas. “It’s ‘rill good.” (warning — video clip has a curse word or two, spoken in the unique and endearing accent of the area where Dan grew up. Just try to pronounce “garbanzos” any other way after watching it.)
- 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup tahini paste
- 2-3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (more as needed to taste)
- 1 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (more as needed to taste)
- 3 tablespoons water (more as needed to thin the hummus)
- Peel the chickpeas and discard their skins.
- In a food processor, blend the chickpeas until powdery clumps form, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl with a spatula as needed. Add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and salt and blend until pureed. With the food processor still running, slowly add water until the hummus becomes smooth, light and creamy.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning (careful with the salt and garlic, since their flavors will become more pronounced after the hummus chills in the fridge for a bit.) Refrigerate the hummus for at least 30 minutes prior to serving, to allow the flavors to “bloom” and come together.
- Serve drizzled with a little good olive oil and garnished with crackers, pita bread or veggies for dipping.