Friday, August 2, 2013

Ottolenghi's Basic Hummus

I make a good hummus. My fall-back one is nothing fancy--usually good-quality canned chickpeas, some spoonfuls of tahini (although I have been known to slide in some almond butter instead when I forget to buy it), garlic, lemon juice, plenty of cumin, a pinch of cayenne, water and good olive oil--the proportions of the ingredients varied slightly to get just the right combination of flavor and texture I am looking for. Simple, but it always gets eaten, requested back and someone always claims any leftovers to take home. At one point, every time a certain friend invited me over for dinner or parties and I would offer to bring something, he would say, "How about some of your hummus?" When I would point out that I actually cook pretty well--not just appetizers and make a lot more than hummus, and I would threaten to boycott unless I could bring something else he would say imploringly, "But we LOVE your hummus!" Let it be known that I am always a sucker for both begging and compliments. ;-)

I am already pretty content with my own basic hummus but I have had the urge to try the Basic Hummus from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi to see if their version is better. It contains some of my basic ingredients but with dried chickpeas (cooked their special way with a bit of baking soda in a hot pan before boiling until soft), huge quantities of tahini and ice water drizzled into the food processor at the end to make it creamier. I thought about sticking to the recipe completely for trial's sake, but since the cookbook says to adjust the lemon and tahini to your own tastes, I just had to toss in some of my beloved cumin, up the lemon juice and reduce the amount of tahini. The final product turned out light, creamy and delicious drizzled with olive oil and dusted with paprika and a touch of dukkah. (My changes are noted in red below.)

Basic Hummus
Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
(Serves 6)

1 1/4 cup (250 g) dried chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda  
6 1/2 cups water 
1 cup + 2 Tbsp tahini (light roast) (I reduced to a heaping 1/2 cup)
4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used about 6 Tbsp)
4 cloves garlic, crushed  
6 1/2 tablespoons ice cold water  
(I added 1 tsp ground cumin)  
(olive oil, paprika & dukkah to serve, optional) 

The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight. 

The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. (I cooked mine about 1 hour) Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy. 

Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 and 2/3 cups now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine sill running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to mix for about five minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste. 

Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. 

Notes/Results: An excellent hummus that takes a bit longer than my normal version, but is no harder to make. Definitely cooked dried chickpeas trump even the good canned version, I am just usually making hummus at the last minute and avoiding the soaking time by using the cans. Even with just half of the tahini that the recipe called for, the flavor is pronounced--so for me, the whole amount would be too much. I think less tahini made my hummus a little thicker than the pictured version, but it was plenty smooth and silky and I like just a tad of stiffness in hummus rather than have it be too blended. With my changes to the recipe, I would definitely make it again. 
*Note: The chips I enjoyed with the hummus are from The Better Chip and I am reviewing them next week on the blog. The two pictured are the Red Peppers With Salsa Fresca and their newest flavor, Spinach and Kale with Sea Salt. Besides being pretty in the bowl, both are excellent hummus partners. 

It's Mezze Madness week at I Heart Cooking Clubs--featuring Ottolenghi appetizers and small plate dishes. You can check out the pupus everyone made by following the links on the post.

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. I loved Ottolenghi's hummus way more than any I've ever made! So creamy!

  2. Thanks to Mr. Ottolenghi and this recipe, I now know how to make fantastic hummus. So smooth, silky and delicious....

  3. Hummus has become a staple at my house this summer. Like you, I always turn to canned chickpeas for convenience. So many people have commented about the smooth texture of YO's hummus. I really have to get in gear and try it out.

  4. Mmmm! The best hummus on the planet! I sometimes take half the recipe and add sun-dried tomato to one half ... two hummuses from one recipe! Huzzah!

  5. Joyce, kitchen flavoursAugust 3, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Hi Deb!
    Yes, I love Ottolenghi's hummus! It was good, and adding the ground cumin is an excellent idea! will have to try that the next time!

  6. I wanted to make hummus again this week, but figured I should post something else instead ;) I also felt like Ottolenghi's recipe called for too much tahini. I think I cut the tahini in half like you did. This looks incredibly delicious, Deb!

  7. I do love a good hummus, though I have always just used canned chickpeas but perhaps I should try with dried ones too :) And I do especially like it with dukkah & little olive oil too. Delicious looking hummus Deb :)

  8. Couscous & ConsciousnessAugust 7, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Canned chickpeas for hummus is my usual fall-back too, especially for those times when I want something and I want it now. But soaking and cooking the dried chickpeas definitely makes a huge difference and is worth the little bit of extra effort involved. Interestingly, when I made this, I used 3/4 cup of tahini, and on its own I did find the tahini a little too strong for my taste too, but once it was paired with the spicy lamb for the Hummus Kawarma it really worked.


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