May 16, 2013
7 Rules for Perfect Hummus
When was the last time you opened a tub of hummus and swooned? When was the last time a restaurant put a plate of hummus in front of you, and you said, “Oh my God.”
Most of the hummus recipes you come across on web sites, in print, on YouTube—they’re just wrong. Most of the hummus you buy in stores, or get served at restaurants—it’s just okay.
As hummus gets more and more popular, its manufacturers are aiming more and more for the middle. They are substituting variety for quality. You can get mediocre hummus in ten flavors (Avocado! Chipotle!), but try finding just one batch of perfect.
I eat hummus every day. I make it about once a week. I’ve used recipes, I’ve created my own, I’ve tweaked like Steve Jobs (z”l) on a bender. Below you’ll find my basic recipe, which I’ve adapted from Erez Komaravsky’s, the Israeli chef and cooking teacher. (A story on Erez appears in this month’s Saveur, along with the recipe).
Whether you use it or find your own let these rules be your guide.
1. Do not used canned garbanzo beans. Ever. Take the canned beans in your cupboard and give them to a food bank.
2. Fresh ingredients are always better. Always. Fresh ground cumin seeds, fresh squeezed lemon juice, fresh garlic. Never used bottled lemon juice, though a touch of citric acid can help. Erez uses a mortar and pestle to grind his cumin. You’ll taste the difference.
3. Use good quality olive oil. Lots of it. In the hummus, as well as on top.
4. Don’t forget the pepper. I use Aleppo pepper, but hot paprika or ground chili works too.
5. Use water. This is key. Reserve the water you boiled the beans in. As you blend your hummus, add the water to achieve a creamy consistency. Use a bit more than you think is correct, because after it sits you’ll see the water is absorbed. If you’ve refrigerated your hummus, you can refresh it by whisking in some warm water.
6. Serve warm. Freshly made warm hummus topped with a bit of mushed-up garbanzos, drizzled with olive oil, and topped with chopped parsley and paprika is the ideal. And the pita should be warm too.
7. Use a blender, not a food processor. You get a creamier consistency.
[Adapted from Erez Komaravsky. See original here.]
1½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight; drained
After a a few minutes, taste and adjust seasoning. You may need more water for a creamy texture.