Chickpeas, Tahini, Garlic and Lemon. That’s all it takes to whip up one of the world’s most loved dishes. Silky smooth, rich with tahini and deeply savoury, there really is no wonder this dish is so revered and its origins hotly debated around the Levant region, parts of Africa and even Greece. However, we don’t need to do a deep dive into the origins of Hummus to appreciate its allure. It’s cheap, delicious, extremely nutritious and dead easy to prepare.
I like to make hummus with dried chickpeas because it produces a better flavour and texture. (It is also cheaper, and that is never a bad thing.) A bag of dried chickpeas will make a few large batches and often costs less than just one can of the soaked and ready-cooked variety. If you want to use canned chickpeas, skip the soaking and cooking part of the recipe and go straight to blending.
Besides the basic building blocks of chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon, I also like to add a good slug of my favourite olive oil. You don’t have to add this, but it brings a touch of silkiness and luxury that I cannot do without. My second piece of advice is to use the tahini that you enjoy. Some tahini is extremely bitter and claggy; it may have been sitting on a supermarket shelf for some time before being purchased. Taste the tahini alone to find a brand that you really like.
If you are sensitive to garlic or don’t like the killer death-breath that comes after eating it fresh, you can add the whole cloves to the chickpeas as they are cooking and then blend it all, which will bring a softer and sweeter flavour.
Finally, add whatever you like to your hummus! Don’t listen to the hummus snobs. There is more than one way to eat it, so go mad with your toppings (or don’t) the choice is yours.
Really Good Hummus
Chickpeas, Tahini, Garlic and Lemon. That's all it takes to whip up one of the world's most loved dishes. This basic recipe is perfect as it is or makes a great blank canvas for all sorts of add-ins.
- 250g Large Dried Chickpeas
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 2 Garlic Cloves (Optional to add-in at the boiling stage if you prefer a subtle garlic flavour.
- 210g Tahini
- 120ml Lemon Juice (or 60ml of lemon juice and 60ml of ice-cold water if you prefer it less lemony)
- 40g or a good slug of Olive Oil
The evening before or 8/12 hours before you want to make the hummus, rinse the chickpeas and then place them in a large bowl and cover with plenty of water.
After soaking, rinse the chickpeas with fresh water and put them in a saucepan with the bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add water, so the chickpeas are covered with around 2 inches of water. If you do not like the taste of fresh garlic, add the whole unpeeled cloves to the saucepan now. Boiling will subdue the garlic's sting and make it more mellow. Bring the saucepan to the boil and simmer for around 20-30 minutes until you can squash one of the beans between your fingers but they have not completely turned to mush.
Drain the cooked chickpeas and add them to a food processor with the garlic. Begin to process the chickpeas and add the tahini, lemon juice and oil (if using) with the machine still running. Allow the processor to run at high speed for a few minutes until you have a very smooth paste. If the hummus is very firm, add some ice cold water with the machine running until the desired consistency is reached.
Check the seasoning, transfer to a bowl and enjoy.