There are endless recipes available for hummus. It is widely known for being a “safe” thing to serve for a party because it caters to many diets while still being interesting enough to please the meat eaters. From living in such a strongly Mediterranean area such as Astoria I found it essential to seek out the absolute best hummus. My biggest pet peeve with many brands and recipes is that people love to over mix humus until it takes on a paste-like texture as if they are whipping it in the food processor. With that said, the goal of my recipe is based on achieving a particular texture as well as using all fresh ingredients.
While soaking and cooking beans does require a degree of planning, starting with dried chickpeas is far better and healthier than using canned chickpeas with preservatives.
Achieving the perfect texture is attributed to making fresh tahini from white sesame seeds, and not over mixing everything else. Whenever possible I always try doing everything by hand, which is why I use a pastry blender in recipes calling for a food processor. Either one works fine but I feel like I have more control blending by hand. Also, processing something too much can introduce unwanted air into a mixture.
Making tahini may seem like a chore but it’s really not that difficult and using the exact amount of seeds needed means that you will not have a jar of excess tahini sitting in your refrigerator that will eventually spoil. Homemade tahini takes on a less smooth texture.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas (2 1/2 cups soaked)
- 2 teaspoons of salt, divided
- 2/3 cup white sesame seeds (equates to 1/2 cup tahini)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 garlic cloves
- 6 tablesoppns lemon juice
- Soak chickpeas overnight in water. They will double in size.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring chickpeas to boil until completely soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain cooked chickpeas and reserve the water. Set aside.
- While chickpeas are cooking you can prepare tahini paste. Toast sesame seeds in a hot skillet, stirring frequently until they begin turning light golden in color, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. In batches, grind toasted sesame seeds using a mortar and pestle until no whole seeds remain. Stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. This can also be done in a food processor.
- Crush garlic with 1 teaspoon of salt to a paste in mortar and pestle
- In medium bowl, combine cooked chickpeas, tahini, garlic paste, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 cup of the cooked chickpea water. Mash all ingredients with pastry blender and pulse in food processor until desired consistency is achieved.
If hummus is too thick, adding more of the reserved water comes in handy. If making flavored hummus, other ingredients can be incorporated at this point. My favorite hummus variation is roasted red peppers.