1 June 2011

The hummus muse hath struck!

Since forever, my hubby has been saying to me “you should make your own hummus, you know” (much in the same way as he’s now saying “you should make your own gnocchi”).  So while the gnocchi still waits, I overcame my reluctance and bought some Tahini paste (which is made from sesame seeds), dried chickpeas – and waited for the muse to strike.

Well, the muse took her time – as 6 months down the line, I’ve just made my first batch of hummus.  I found that the first problem was remembering to put the chickpeas (also known as "little bums" - well, have you looked closely at one?) on to soak the night before.  Yes, I know you can use tinned chickpeas, but if reports were to be believed, the best hummus comes from dried, soaked and boiled chickpeas rather than tinned.  I am also controlled by the “I’ve got to do it RIGHT” muse, by the way.

So, having managed to remember to soak the chickpeas, I was then committed to doing something with them the next day.  The cooking of the chickpeas was easy enough – into a pan with a teensy amount of salt and a whole heap of water, boil for an hour.  Sorted.  Tasting them thereafter, I realise now why hummus purists prefer the dried version.  The flavour is far superior.  So anyway, I procrastinated as long as was possible over the next stage, then got on with it.

Chuck the chickpeas into a food processor, add olive oil, Tahini (I suggest you start with just a little and work your way upwards – basically because you can’t take it out once it’s gone in and it is a very strong flavour), a good quantity of lemon juice, a squashed garlic clove and some salt & pepper.  Blitz until the mixture runs smoothly, adding olive oil as you go, to get the right texture.

I found it was a trial and error thing with the quantities of olive oil, lemon juice and salt.  Very much a personal taste issue.

However, it really wasn’t as big a deal as I was thinking it might be.  It was really quite easy – and the hummus is a very forgiving substance, which you can blitz and taste, blitz and taste, without it getting all huffy and going wrong like egg whites will, in similar circumstances.

Of course, I got the quantities wrong and made an industrial sized quantity – so I’ll be scaling that down for future hummus makes – but it was really very nice indeed.  I ate it with a drizzle of olive oil and some cayenne pepper sprinkled on, with mini carrots and some little salty biscuits and it made a very yummy mid-film snack.

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