Food has always been my first love and the way to my heart. This explains why I easily fall in love with chefs, like Yotam Ottolenghi. I absolutely love him and I’m obsessed with his cookbook, Plenty. Although I am not a vegetarian, Ottolenghi's Plenty has taught me how to make interesting, vibrant, and flavorful vegetarian dishes. I’ve been working my way through that cookbook and I’ve already made many of his recipes. The latest recipe that I've tried is his wonderful hummus recipe.
The first time I tried hummus was soon after college (in the early 1990s) when my friend Mahro, who is from Iran, came to my house and made it for me. She was so kind to share her delicious recipe with me and I’ve been making her version of hummus for over 25 years. The recipe that I’ve posted here is mostly Mahro’s but with a little bit of Yotam Ottolenghi thrown into it. Mahro’s original recipe uses canned chickpeas but I decided to take a cue from Ottolenghi and substitute the canned with dried chickpeas. Let me warn you, it takes significantly longer (hours longer in fact) to make hummus using dried chickpeas but I must say, it is totally worth it. Even though it's not as tasty, I can understand why Mahro and many others would choose to use canned chickpeas. It is so much easier and faster. So if you are in a hurry, I suggest that you use canned and if not and have several hours to kill, you should definitely try the dried chickpeas. By the way, Mahro uses 2-1/2 cans of chickpeas and about 1/2 cup of tahini. So use that instead of the dried chickpeas, baking soda, and 1-1/2 cups tahini. The rest of Mahro's recipe is the same as posted below and don't forget to start your instructions with step 4.
- 4 or more cloves garlic
- 2-1/2 cups dried chickpeas
- 1-1/2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1-1/2 cups tahini paste
- Juice from 3-4 small lemons (I used about 5 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1-1/2 teaspoons or more salt (season to taste)
- 1/2 cup or more of chickpea liquid
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Pepper to taste
- Paprika to garnish
Step 1: Soak the chickpeas overnight. Place chickpeas in a bowl and cover with double their volume of cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to the chickpeas. Set aside. The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas.
Step 2: Place the soaked chickpeas and remaining baking soda in a medium saucepan and cover with double their volume of cold water.
Step 3: Bring to a boil, then simmer very gently for 2 to 3 hours or until totally soft and easy to mush. You may need to add more water during the cooking process to keep them immersed. Drain the chickpeas, retaining the cooking liquid.
Step 4: Using a food processor fitted with the steel blade, drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced.
Step 5: Add the drained chickpeas and process until smooth.
Step 6: Add the tahini, salt, cumin, and the lemon juice. Process and then add the chickpea liquid a little at a time until you achieve the right consistency. You want the mixture to be very soft, almost runny, but just holding its shape.
Step 7: Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Place hummus in serving dish and generously drizzle with your best olive oil. Do not incorporate it in.
Step 8: Sprinkle paprika on top and serve chilled or at room temperature.