Anne Radcliffe: Dinner - It's Not Rocket Science


Hummus: You're Making it Wrong

One surprising ingredient changes EVERYTHING.

Would you believe me if I told you that these two spoons are hummus made from the same recipe? It's true. Except, the one on the right has one tiny little secret ingredient.

Oh hummus, one of the most popular things in the world to snack on, but so seldom made from scratch here in North America. Such a shame. Store bought hummus is so meh. And expensive.

And yet, to judge by my friends' habits, hummus is bought approximately 110,000 times as often as they make it fresh. Why? Because texture problems.

Theres eleventy million billion recipes online for hummus, and their owners don't have enough science knowledge to know the humble chickpea's kryptonite (or they just don't care, and that's cool). Therefore, a great many of of those eleventy million billion recipes are lacking one very small but very important ingredient.

You like the silky smooth, my friend? You have to have the silky smooth, my friend.

The Only Hummus Recipe You'll Ever Need

Come. I help make you silky smooth.

I don't care what recipe you have - it doesn't matter, and there are lots of hummus recipes out there even on this site, and you can pick any one of them. You can use store bought tahini or homemade tahini (it's SUPER easy to make). It doesn't matter what kind of chickpeas you want to use either. Use canned. Use dried. It don't matter none. And if your recipe suggests using a pressure cooker? Well forget that noise. You don't need it.

But what you need? You're going to need to add this:


I will tell you why.

Chickpeas (the primary ingredient of hummus) have a tough outer hull. The hull is responsible for about 78% (by my random guess) of the grit in lumpy hummus. Sure you could make yourself crazy peeling chickpeas, or you could exploit the chickpea's fatal weakness. Chickpeas are high in pectin... the same tough plant polysaccharide that is used to provide structure in jams and jellies. Pectic bonds are broken down in the presence of an alkaline substance... such as the superhero of our story, baking soda.

So! How do we go about using said superhero?

It's very simple. Either take your drained/rinsed canned chickpeas or your drained/soaked/rinsed dried chickpeas, and throw them in a skillet. Turn the heat on medium, and add a scant 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of ready-to-use chickpeas. Nothing else.

Saute the chickpeas for about three minutes, at which point you'll begin to see the outer hull fall apart. Don't worry about picking out the skins. You won't be bothered by them. 

If you're using dried chickpeas, you'll want to proceed to add water and simmer them, covered, until they're soft but not mushy (roughly 30-40m). If you're using canned chickpeas, then add water and simmer for just a few minutes.

Drain them, and proceed with your recipe... except you may want to be cautious in adding the usual amounts of oil and water. 'Cause odds are, you're going to get the silky smooth without adding copious amounts oil and water.

Enjoy. And... you're welcome.