Hummus (Arabic حمص, Hebrew חומוס) is a dish that is particularly ubiquitous in Israel and Palestine as well as in Lebanon and Syria and is well known in many parts of the world. Hummus is ideal as an appetiser, side dish or snack and is usually eaten with flatbread. However, we have also seen teenagers in Israel eating hummus with their fries at a takeaway and it really does taste excellent.
Hummus is a healthy and highly nutritious food that is easy to make yourself. However, you can’t keep it for very long – three to five days covered in the fridge is the maximum if you don’t want to use any preservatives. We do not recommend freezing it. So you should only make one reasonably sized portion at a time.
No matter which version of hummus you want to make, it always starts with chickpeas. You could buy them pre-cooked in a tin, but using dry chickpeas is much cheaper and also better for the environment. They should be light-coloured chickpeas, the darker and usually smaller varieties used in Indian cuisine, for example, are not suitable. Our quantities at the end of the recipe refer to dry chickpeas.
The chickpeas are washed briefly the day before, covered with around twice the amount of water and left to soak overnight for at least 12 hours. After that, you only need a little baking soda to speed up the cooking process.
The soaking water is drained from the chickpeas and they are brought to the boil in fresh water with the baking soda. Six times as much water is used as (dry) chickpeas. Because of the baking soda, a lot of foam will rise up after a few minutes, which needs to be skimmed off; the best way to do this is with a small sieve. Do not use a lid at this stage and stay close by.
The cooking time varies, but 40 minutes is a good guideline. The chickpeas are ready when they can be easily mashed between two fingers. They are then poured through a sieve, collecting the cooking liquid. It is best to place the sieve on a large pot.
This cooking water is called aquafaba and can be used as a vegan substitute for egg whites. The liquid in tinned products can also be used in this way if it contains no additives other than water and possibly salt.
The only other ingredients needed are tahini (a sesame paste), garlic, lemon juice and salt, that’s all. There are variations in which cumin is added as a seasoning, but this is not necessary for our taste.
For the simplest version of hummus, the chickpeas are pureed with a little aquafaba in a blender while tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt are added. The quantities given here can be varied according to personal preference. After a few minutes, a creamy paste has formed.
However, we prefer a slightly lighter version and puree only about half of the cooked chickpeas with more aquafaba and less tahini, more lemon juice and less garlic. We then mix the finished paste with the remaining half of the whole chickpeas.
Finally, we dry toast a handful of almonds in a pan. We also heat a little olive oil (clarified butter or butter are also common) in a small casserole and add a little Aleppo chilli flakes. This is a relatively mild chilli with an intense flavour. An alternative is the more commonly available Turkish Pul Biber, but unlike the Aleppo chilli flakes, it also contains the seeds of chilli, which makes it more pungent.
We spread our hummus on a plate, sprinkle with the toasted almonds and drizzle everything with our chilli oil – done.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for 6 people):
250 g dry chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 litres of water
250 g tahini
4 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic
2 level tsp salt
100 ml cooking liquid from the chickpeas
300 g dry chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
1.8 litres of water
130 g tahini
6 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
2 level tsp salt
200 ml cooking liquid from the chickpeas
3 tbsp very good olive oil or butter or clarified butter
Almonds, dry roasted
1 ½ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes