I used to think I made hummus from scratch. When I started thinking about it, though: I always bought jars of pre-made tahini from the store and used canned chickpeas, and I had never really questioned the impact that might have on the flavor of my homemade hummus.
So last month I decided to try my hand at tanini, and while I was at it, start with dry chickpeas as well.
First, the tahini. This was so easy, I don’t know why I’d never done it before. I roasted 5 C. sesame seeds (hulled) at 350F for about 10 minutes, until they had just started turning golden brown — no darker. After they had cooled, I poured them into the food processor and processed them while adding 1-1/2 C. oil — I used about 50/50 olive and sesame oils. That was it! The consistency was nice and smooth and the flavor was better than any jar of tahini I’ve tasted.
Next up, chickpeas. Maybe this is old hat for a lot of you, but I’d always seen the advice: don’t bother with cooking chickpeas, canned chickpeas are just as good. I stumbled across The Paupered Chef, where they have done a great job of testing various methods, and I decided to trust their conclusion: cooked chickpeas make a better hummus than canned if you cook them with a little baking soda to help soften them up (for a smooth, not-gritty consistency).
Here are their instructions, in my own words:
Soak 1 lb. of chickpeas in water overnight (well over enough water to cover them — they will soak it up!)
Drain the chickpeas, place them in a large pot and add 2 cloves of garlic, a sprig of thyme, 1 tsp. baking soda, and some salt. Cover with water, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 2-3 hours, until the chickpeas are tender. Then drain.
The hulls will start to come off the chickpeas. You can remove them all, and maybe you will have an even creamier hummus — I removed most of them, but it’s possible I didn’t need to. I kinda enjoyed popping them out of their little skins.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of this, but it wouldn’t really have mattered: the chickpeas didn’t look like much–but the smell as they cooked was unbelievably good. And the flavor! These were, without a doubt, the BEST chickpeas I have ever tasted. They were savory and tender and perfect. I probably ate twenty of them before I could even get them into the food processor.
So after making the most delicious chickpeas ever, I was really hoping to have the best hummus ever. I stuck with The Paupered Chef’s recipe:
1 lb. chickpeas, cooked (reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and drain)
1/2 cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tahini
Process the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, salt and tahini in a food processor. Amazingly, this recipe gets super creamy without even adding any oil. When you’re ready to serve, drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle some paprika on top.
It was definitely delicious hummus. Would I call it the most delicious hummus ever? I guess not. But it was super satisfying to make it from scratch. I don’t think I’ll go back to store-bought tahini — though I might be tempted to use a can of chickpeas when I’m in a rush.
We ate the majority of this hummus while relaxing on the Pacific coast a few weeks ago. We hiked from Lake Ozette, near Washington’s coast, through some beautiful temperate rainforest and set up camp on the beach. It was a beautiful day, and the hummus was a welcome treat after a nice hike. Here’s what that looked like:
We’re headed out to camp on the coast again soon, because, well–look at it. Right?