When we were younger, Dad would take us out for scrumptious meals on special occasions. Birthdays, anniversaries, good exam results – any of these qualified for a nice meal outside. An amazing treat for a family of foodies 🙂 On many such occasions we used to go to a nice hotel for a lavish buffet. As kids we were thrilled with the idea of so many options to choose from and with the potential to eat many helpings of things we liked!
I first tried hummus at one of these buffets. It was my first introductions to Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine and I was hooked. This luscious, creamy, nutty, garlicky goodness was addictive! I would eat it plain, with pita, with veggies – you name it.
Ever since then, I have tried hummus pretty much wherever I have seen it on the menu. In India and outside. Mezze platters are one of my favourite things to order. The way the hummus tastes is as important as how it feels. Is it smooth? Is it creamy? Is it slightly lemony? Does it have a hint of cumin? Does garlic take it to that little extra oomph level? All so important!
I’d always wanted to make hummus at home, but shied away thinking it will be tough and I’ll ruin something I love. But as it happened, I decided to host friends for New Year’s Eve two years ago and after much research, decided on a Mediterranean themed menu. Now there can’t be a Mediterranean menu without hummus, can there?
So lo and behold, there I was, trying not to panic and researching a million hummus recipes to get the one that I could make easily and which suited my taste preferences. I found a recipe by the great Yotam Ottolenghi, the Brit-Israeli chef and guru of middle eastern/Mediterranean cuisine. I followed it and made a few minor tweaks. Till the end I had no idea how it would actually turn out. But let me tell you – it was epic! It was one of those ‘I can’t believe I made this’ moments! It was pretty much perfect, just the way I like it and all my friends loved it too! Major achievement unlocked 🙂 🥰
Hummus is super duper simple to make and needs just a few ingredients. All of these are easily available at home, except for the Tahini. You can make your own tahini at home, but I am yet to try it (next thing to overcome). I searched high and low for basic tahini and not tahini dressing (did not think it would be that hard to find, but it was). Finally found some in Big Bazaar and bought 6 jars so that it will last me a while 🙂
For the chickpeas, once soaked overnight, you can just cook them in the pressure cooker with a bit of baking soda till done but I chose to follow Ottolenghi’s method. Ottolenghi is a genius. One must listen to what he says.
Cooking the chickpeas with baking soda, in a pot, removing the loose skin and froth, is a time consuming process but the result is this super creamy hummus that makes it worthwhile.
The tahini, garlic, lemon, salt and cumin balance out the flavour and the ice cold water helps to make the hummus smooth and silky. Yummmmmm.
I could eat that straight from the processor 😍😍
Hummus is super versatile and can be had as a dip, in a sandwich, or as-is. Make a big batch, you will definitely want more 🙂
After this, eating hummus outside will never be the same. Trust me!
Super Easy Hummus
1 cup chickpeas – washed and soaked overnight
1 tsp baking soda
5 cups water
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup tahini
1 tsp cumin powder
3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
8 tbsp ice cold water
- Soak chickpeas overnight. When you’re ready to cook, drain the water and put them in a large pan along with the baking soda. Cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 5 cups of water and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring every now and then. Keep removing the froth and the skins that keep floating up. The chickpeas are ready when you can press them easily but they are not mushy. Alternatively, add the water,chickpeas and baking soda in a pressure cooker and cook for about 25-30 minutes till done.
- Drain the chickpeas and transfer to a food processor. Blend into a coarse paste.
- Add tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Blend till mixed well together and a paste is formed. Stir once and blend again. Add the cumin powder and blend till combined and there are no lumps.
- Add ice cold water and blend till the paste comes together and is creamy and smooth. Adjust for salt.
- Transfer the hummus to a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes.
- Either eat immediately or cover and keep in the fridge till ready to use. Take it out 15-20 minutes before eating, so that it is not very cold. Drizzle a little olive oil on top, sprinkle some red chilli powder and you’re good to go!