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Making Hummus for the first time

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  • Rick Dec 2, 2007 12:08 PM
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I bought chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and I have the salt, olive oil, and garlic on hand. This all seems really straight forward but I figured I ask if there's anything special anyone likes to do when making hummus?

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  1. Three things come to mind:

    Make sure your food processor works.

    Consider roasting the garlic first and the amount you include is not overwhelming...roasted or raw.

    A sprinkle of fresh herbs adds another level of flavor.

    1. You aren't going to like this....but, I BELIEVE you get smoother hummus if you remove the skins from the chickpeas first...for a 15 ounce can, this takes a while. I still like it very much without removing the skins, but the texture is *to me* better without them but I don't always have time to sit and do this; it's easy enough, just gently squeeze between thumb and finger and the chickpea slips right out but there are a whole lotta chickpeas in a 15 ounce can, that's for sure! If you have a helper, even a child, it would go faster.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Val

        Wow, Val. Your patience and attention to detail are astounding.

        1. re: diablo

          I had read about doing this right here on this board (varying disagreement over it, as always, which is great) and a co-worker whose spouse has had severe problems with ulcerative colitis and even recent extensive surgeries (he's only 34 and has lost so much weight from this sickness that he did not need to lose) told me that he cannot have hummus with the skins so she makes it for him without the skins, God bless her, I get teary-eyed over what they have been through...and then, I tried it and I do think it IS better without the skins, just a perception of mine.

          1. re: Val

            Maybe I'll try it myself.

            1. re: Val

              It is better if the skin is removed. To make it easier to remove the skins, simmer the chickpeas in water for about 5 minutes, drain and let cool.

          2. re: Val

            I thought I was the only one who went to the trouble of removing the skins hehe. I agree I think it makes for smoother hummus. Any time I've made it without removing the skins I find one or two that the processor missed(never a whole chickpea, just the skins sheesh). I remove skins while watching tv... makes it seem less tedious :)

            1. re: maplesugar

              If you have a food mill you can easily break down the chickpeas and remove the skins at the same time. Very fast and easy way to remove the skins. I did this for a while and took the ground up chickpeas from the food mill to the food processor. Very smooth results but after doing this for a while I came to the realization that the difference was too little to worry about.

          3. the addition of a little cumin and smoked paprika perks it up a bit, nothing intense, should be subtle.

            1. Good for you Rick. Hummus is super easy. I make it about once a week. I have started cooking my own chickpeas now as well but used canned ones for years. I never removed the skins and if you process it for a long time it gets smooth. I blender will help get ultra smooth results if that's what you're after. I grew up with the addition of ground cumin in hummus. Just doesn't taste right without it for me but it's a matter of personal taste. I always use raw garlic as well as it's the most traditional way to use it. Use roasted if you like it more mellow. When using the garlic, I make a paste of the garlic with salt. Just smash it down on the board and cover in salt. Use the side of your knife to make a paste with the garlic. This way it is incooporated well into the dip and no one gets a chunk of garlic.

              1 Reply
              1. re: scubadoo97

                A very knowledgeable Egyptian client of mine told me to toss a small, peeled, boiled potato into the mix. Seriously. It made the creamiest, richest Hummus I've ever eaten.

              2. At our Lebanese Feast last night, myplateoryours replicated a hummous dish that she'd had in a restaurant in London: bits of lean lamb sauteed in a little olive oil and poured on top of the hummous. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh parsley. Totally out-of-sight!

                1 Reply
                1. re: pikawicca

                  I do that too - love it! I think the pine nuts were "toasted" in butter on the stove top.

                2. The garlic gets pretty strong over a few days in the fridge, so you may want to use less garlic than you might think if you are making a large quantity.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: julesrules

                    Just made my first batch of hummus. Next time I'll cut back on the tahini about a half tablespoon. Otherwise, quick, easy, and cheap! Thanks all. I also used a blender since I don't have a food processor. I'm assuming it'd be a bit easier in a food processor?

                    1. re: Rick

                      I've only ever made it in my food processor but I believe I remember reading on this board that it certainly can be done well in a blender! If it works well for you in the blender, why go out and buy a food processor just for hummus? As far as ease, you still have a container to scrape out no matter what so not sure that really matters.

                      1. re: Val

                        I rinse the chickpeas in a strainer, add all the ingredient mentioned. Serve the hummus sprinkled with red pepper, chopped parsley and a little olive oil. I received compliments from DH saying my hummus was better than the ready made ones that I purchase.

                      2. re: Rick

                        Back in the old days when I learned to make hummous, food processors did not exist. We used a blender. Just be sure to put in all of the liquid ingredients first, and be prepared to stop the blender once or twice and stir the contents around with a dinner knife. Incidentally, in Lebanon, olive oil is never added to the hummous. It's thinned with the chickpea cooking liquid and the olive oil is drizzled on top, once the mixture is spread in a rather thin layer on a serving platter.

                    2. We find regular hummus kind of bland. Here's a recipe that we use:

                      Kicked Up Hummus Dip

                      1 (15-oz) can Chick Peas, drained
                      4 Tbs lemon juice
                      2 Tbs lime juice
                      2 Tbs olive oil
                      2 Tbs Tahini paste
                      2 cloves garlic, crushed
                      1 tsp toasted sesame oil
                      1/2 tsp ground cumin
                      1/2 tsp ground coriander
                      dash cayenne pepper
                      salt and black pepper to taste

                      Place ingredients in food processor, blend until smooth.

                      1. I love hummus and have always wanted to try it, so I'm glad to hear you are giving it a shot. I think I know the answer to this, but I'll ask anyway. I buy a lot of pre-made store bought hummus, and like the variety that is commercially available. Especially roasted red pepper. So to people who make this at home.....is it that much better? Am I missing out on something here?

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: egbluesuede

                          Egblue, I always bought the commercial stuff too and wanted to try making it myself to save a few bucks and just to try it fresh. Well, I don't see myself buying store bought again with how easy this was to do. The homemade version is much smoother/creamier.

                          1. re: egbluesuede

                            It's really a different animal. I buy the commercial brands for a quick snack or sandwich filling with vaguely middle eastern overtones and they are fine (and in fact that Tribe brand version with 40 spices is really yummy!) . But the real deal is just chick peas, tahini, lemon and garlic and the flavor is pure and wonderful. In all my childhood growing up in a Lebanese family, nothing else was ever added to the hummus except a drizzle of oil at the finish. In my experience -- if you want that, you need to make it yourself.

                            1. re: egbluesuede

                              It's better, MUCH cheaper, and faster to just make it at home. I don't know why anyone buys hummus.

                              One trick I haven't seen mentioned is to add the olive oil by hand at the very end, after you've removed the hummus from the food processor. Stirring the oil in by hand preserves its flavor, the high RPM thrashing it takes in the food processor destroys the flavor of the oil.

                              I usually make it with 1 tsp. each of cumin and coriander (per 15oz. can of chickpeas), and a dash of cayenne.

                              1. re: Buckethead

                                Sounds like I have something new to try. I can definately see me adding my personal touch on this. I'm thinking heat!

                                1. re: egbluesuede

                                  I need some more tips on making it. I only made one batch and found that I had to add extra lemon to get it to blend well. It really needed more liquid and I just used lemon since that was the lowest calorie thing in there. The recipe I used also included 1/4cup of the juice in which the chickpeas came in. Do you use more chickpea juice while blending? I'd like to make it without olive oil and just drizzle on later, but it seemed like it needed the liquid.

                                  1. re: Rick

                                    I'm sure all the purists will disagree with my suggestions but consider adding:

                                    1. Just plain old water
                                    2. Vegetable stock or any other kind available
                                    3. A pureed vegetable such as a roasted red pepper

                                    No recipe is written in stone and most great dishes were discovered by accident.

                                    1. re: Rick

                                      If it needs thinning, I use the chickpea liquid. I usually end up using about half of the liquid that was in the can. As fourunder says, it's flexible, add what you like. Roasted red peppers are very good in hummus, so is a chipotle with a bit of the adobo sauce.

                                      My recipe, in case you care to try it, is:

                                      15-oz. can chickpeas
                                      2 cloves garlic
                                      1 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander
                                      dash cayenne
                                      1 tsp salt (at least)
                                      2-3 tbs lemon juice
                                      big glob of tahini, probably 1/4 cup

                                      Blend all that in the food processor, along with whatever else you want to add (a roasted red pepper, a chipotle) thinning it with chickpea juice if you need to, bearing in mind that you're going to add olive oil after it comes out of the food processor. Salt to taste. Take it out of the food processor and stir in 2 tbs of good olive oil, more if you like.

                                      1. re: Rick

                                        might want to make hummus w the oil, just once, to compare the taste & texture. it's really supposed to have some of it in there, and it's heart healthy fats. you can figure out just how much oil & tahini you can leave out before the texture becomes unacceptable to you.

                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                          Actually, the oil is supposed to be ON, not IN, the hummous.

                                        2. re: Rick

                                          Keep the garbanzo juice on hand and use for thinning if you need it, although you can also use water or olive oil. Since lemons vary in size and garlic varies in strength, I find you have to fiddle with the balance at the end. My recipe calls for 1 can garbanzo beans, juice of 1 lemon, 1 garlic clove and 6 T. tahini, salt & pepper to taste. I usually mix it, then taste, and add more garlic or more lemon as needed.

                                      2. re: Buckethead

                                        How long can you keep the homemade hummus in the fridge, before it goes bad?

                                        1. re: ctflowers

                                          At least a week or more.

                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                            It freezes too.

                                            I use more than 1/4c of the chickpea liquid. My recipe only called for 1/4 c but it turns out too thick.

                                          2. re: ctflowers

                                            Not sure when it goes bad. It never lasts that long in our house.

                                        2. re: egbluesuede

                                          Homemade hummus -- even if you use canned chickpeas instead of dried -- is much, much better than even the best commercially-packaged kind. I've tried all of them, even hound favorites like "Sabra" brand, and none come close to homemade. Given that homemade is so easy, I'd definitely given it a whirl and see if you prefer it, too. You can always add your favorite flavor to homemade.

                                          1. re: egbluesuede

                                            The individual ingredients really come alive when you make it homemade. The store bought varieties can seem flat after you have it fresh. I'm still waiting to come across a recipe for roasted red pepper hummus though.

                                          2. The only thing special that I do is to try to follow the KISS rule.

                                            Ingredients: chickpeas, fresh lemon juice, tahini from ROASTED sesame seeds

                                            Soak dried beans for at least 24 hours, preferably 48. If using canned beans, drain and rinse thoroughly - do NOT use the awful can juice. Place in a large bowl with water and scrub the skins off by hand (they float!).

                                            Use enough tahini to be noticeable but not overbearing. Add lemon juice (lots!) to balance the nutty tahini flavor. IMO it's hard to add too much lemon juice - this is where commercial preparations really wimp out. Go for nutty AND bright.

                                            Blend until creamy. You may have to add more lemon juice (yay!), water or even a little white vinegar.

                                            Now, if you must, add your backup players - extra virgin olive oil, ROASTED garlic, cumin, etc. Only Greeks seems to use too much raw garlic in hummus or similar dips. Let the subtle ingredients 'speak' for themselves.

                                            Serve with toasted pita chips and/or vegetable sticks.

                                            BTW here's another recent topic with plenty of hints: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/437415

                                            1. I remove the skins from the chickpeas as well - it makes the hummous smoother and creamier. A tip I picked up in Iraq, from a shopkeeper who made (excellent) hummous using tinned chickpeas: rather than removing the skins pea-by-pea, put your cooked chickpeas into the bottom of a large bowl, and fill the bowl with water. Submerge your hands and rub the chickpeas together between your fingers gently. After a few minutes, pull out your hands and wait -- the chickpea skins will float to the surface. Skim the skins off and discard, then repeat two or three more times until most of the skins are removed. Then tip the chickpeas into a sieve or strainer -- the last few skins will be obvious and easy to pick out. Hope that helps...

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: ItinerantKitchenElf

                                                Two more questions.

                                                1. I've kept my opened tahini on the shelf, should it be refrigerated or is it ok in the pantry?

                                                2. If using dried beans, do you just soak them, or do you soak them then cook them?

                                                1. re: Rick

                                                  I keep my tahini in the cupboard. Soak chickpeas, then cook.

                                                  1. re: Rick

                                                    treat it like "natural style" peanut butter or nut butter w/no preservatives-- refrigerate. it will go eventually go rancid if your pantry isn't very cool.

                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                      I live in Fla and if you are buying good tahini that has not set on the shelve for a year, it will hold up fine in your cabinet for quite a while. The problem with refrigerating is it gets hard and you can't stir it. Unless you stir it very well before refrigerating you will end up with a layer of oil and very stiff to rock hard tahini on the bottom. I store my jars upside down before using for the first time to facilitate mixing.

                                                2. I love the addition of a little oil on top when you're ready to eat, and fresh chopped parsley sprinkled on the top of the already blended hummus is just wonderful.
                                                  Spouse actually likes it a little chunky, as well as creamy.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: MsDiPesto

                                                    I use the spice sumac sprinkled on top of my olive oil.

                                                  2. I grew up in a Lebanese household where Hummus was a staple dish. After getting married my wife started buying prepared hummus in the supermarket When the price got up to around $5 bucks for a small round container of the more popular commercial brands , we decided to try making it at home with the food processor.
                                                    I agree wit all of the previous posts that : a. it's much cheaper to make it at home. and b.
                                                    it tastes much better than store bought.
                                                    We did make one slight alteration to the basic recipe: because Tahini is rather expensive, we tried substituting penut butter.in small quantities. Result = slightly different flavor but still delicious.
                                                    Any comments on the use of peanut butter?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jimmydee

                                                      Try to find a better place to buy tahini. I buy 2 lb size bottle http://www.alkanater.com/Results.tpl?... for around $7. If you can shop at a Middle Eastern market you will find good prices and a better selection compared to the supermarket

                                                    2. I like really smooth hummus and do a few things to achieve this. The chickpeas need to be very soft, easy to squish between thumb and finger. When I don't cook them from scratch, I buy canned organic and they are never that soft, so I simmer them for another half hour. Before simmering, I remove the skins by putting them in a bowl with water and rolling them between my hands. This loosens many skins at once and they float to the top where they can be skimmed off. This takes a little patience but I do like the hummus so much better without the skins. Third, I learned a trick from someone online who worked in restaurants in the Middle East. Instead of using water, chickpea cooking liquid or oil in the blending process, use an icecube or two, depending on the amount of chickpeas. It helps to create very smooth hummus. Finally, I use my blender instead of my food processer. I don't know if I don't have a great processor or what, but it doesn't come out nearly as smooth as it does in my blender.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: pdg

                                                        I see this is an old thread but I wanted to see if anyone knows anything about the trick of adding baking soda to the soaking water for dry chickpeas in order to soften them. I read about it in Food & Wine a couple years back (this recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/is...) and thought it sounded interesting - I haven't gotten around to trying it though. The potato idea someone posted sounds good as well. Lots of excellent tips here!

                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                          yes it does make them soft. You only need a small pinch. To much will turn them to mush. We have hard water so I gave it a try a couple of times. I don't use it anymore but it did have an effect.

                                                      2. Once you perfect your hummus recipe you might want to try some other varations too. I made a delicious roasted red pepper hummus today I thought I would share.

                                                        Ingredients

                                                        * 1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
                                                        * 2/3 cup roasted red peppers from a jar, drained
                                                        * 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
                                                        * 1/3 cup tahini
                                                        * juice of 1/2 lemon
                                                        * 1/2 cup olive oil, or to taste
                                                        * 1 tablespoon warm water
                                                        * kosher salt
                                                        * optional garnishes: fresh parsley, paprika, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, etc.

                                                        Preparation

                                                        Add to food processor garbanzo beans, roasted red peppers, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, water, and kosher salt. Process all ingredients. Adjust olive oil to taste. Put in serving bowl and sprinkle extra extra olive oil on top if you wish. Optional: Garnish with fresh parsley, paprika, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, etc.

                                                        http://michaelbeyer.wordpress.com/201...

                                                         
                                                        1. I live in Israel, and divide the hummus here into two categories - Jewish hummus and Arab hummus Jewish hummus uses a lot of tahina to get the nutty flavor, and has a more heavy, coarse texture. Arab hummus doesn't use a lot of tahina, and has a much lighter, smoother, almost whipped kind of texture. (not to be political - there are plenty of Arab-owned establishments that serve what I call Jewish-style hummus, although I've only found Arab hummus in Arab villages).

                                                          Arab hummus is very bland, which is why they usually serve it with ful - a heavily spiced, fava bean mixture. I usually prefer the Jewish hummus, except that sometimes the Arab hummus has a sublime, lemony essence that transcends everything else. I've read that they get this by boiling some lemon peel along with the chickpeas. If you try this, cut way back on the tehina, which will overpower the delicate flavor.

                                                          1. theres a greek resto here in Hollywood, FL that has you make your own hummus to dip bread in at the table. they bring you a mortar and pestle filled to the brim with nothing but chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and have you grind it right there. some of the best hummus ive had (even if not totally authentic lol)