You know what's been missing around here? A classic but not boring, effing amazing hummus recipe. So I set out to crack the code and achieve hummus perfection. After spending almost a month in the Middle East over the last few years and cooking in kitchens in Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel , I've majorly upped my hummus game.
Yes, this takes a long time to make but, after you do it a few times, it becomes clockwork. And seriously it's so much better than storebought that the only problem is you'll never want to eat any other hummus ever again.
plus more for the cooking liquid
for garnish (optional)
for garnish (optional)
Rinse the chickpeas really well and pick out anything that is not a chickpea! Place rinsed chickpeas in a large bowl, cover a few inches with cold water, and add the baking soda. Cover and set aside to soak at least 8 hours or overnight. (If your kitchen is warm, place beans in the refrigerator.)
You can buy already peeled dried chickpeas but they can be a bit pricey. Otherwise, start with unpeeled dried chickpeas and then peel them by hand — it takes some time but it's all in the name of hummus perfection! If you don't have time for a long soak, you can do a quick soak or use high-quality canned cooked chickpeas but the texture won't be as creamy. Rinse really well before using.
Drain and rinse the beans really well then place in a large pot and cover by a couple of inches with fresh water. If you want, add some aromatics (see Tip) then bring to a boil then reduce heat to low so chickpeas are at a simmer. Cook, skimming the surface of the liquid occasionally to remove any foam, until chickpeas are soft enough that you can easily smush them between your fingers and the peel easily comes off but they still hold their shape, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours (older chickpeas will take longer to cook).
It's not necessarily traditional but try adding some aromatics to really flavor the chickpeas and the cooking liquid. I usually add in some combo of a couple garlic cloves, an onion peel, some dried chiles, or a pinch of cumin or coriander seeds.
Remove chickpeas from the heat, add a large pinch of salt and set aside to cool. Reserving the cooking liquid, strain the chickpeas and discard any aromatics you used. Rinse off the chickpeas again and, if they aren't already peeled, peel them. You don't have to do this step but peeled chickpeas yield a much smoother final hummus.
Place the tahini, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor or high performance blender and process until the tahini is smooth. Add the chickpeas, scrape down the side and process until the chickpeas are evenly broken up. Add the cooking liquid, scrape down the sides again and process until the hummus is light, whipped, and very smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add more cooking liquid as needed (you want it to be slightly thinned out as it will thicken as it rests).
If you have a high performance blender, this is the time to pull it out because it will make it super smooth and whipped. Also, you want to get the best quality tahini you can find — it should taste like sesame and be a little sweet and not too bitter.
Transfer to a serving bowl, cover well and refrigerate at least 30 minutes so the hummus can thicken slightly and the flavors can meld. I like to serve it pretty traditionally so topped with a spoonful of chickpeas, really good olive oil, and some sumac and parsley, if desired.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp