Because there are so few ingredients in homemade smooth hummus, each one has to be the best. Here are the tricks to getting your homemade hummus to come out smooth and luscious.
I’ve been talking, and making, a lot of hummus lately. I put it on the menu of the cooking classes I teach, and most every talk I’ve given since the launch of my cookbook has included at least a brief ode to hummus-love. Some people look up and nod in harmonious agreement. Others, a blank stare. Still others, the nervous laugh of “is this girl okay?!”
If only they could taste.
Hummus-talk surfaces in my casual conversation all over the place, as it did when I was talking with the food editor of the Washington Post at a conference last spring. I lingered on the delights of a thick, rich, ultra-smooth homemade hummus that requires that every one of its few ingredients be at the top of its game. Joe asked me to write this down for his people, Washington Post readers, which landed in the paper and an online chat.
In short (promise; read the long [yet fun] form at the Washington Post), those few ingredients are:
The chickpeas. Peeled of their skins. I love the pre-peeled chickpeas I’ve sourced so much that they inspired me to launch the online shop Maureen Abood Market, primarily so I could share them with you. They are a treasure, and we can’t keep them on the shelves!
The tahini. We’ve all had bitter, sludgy, separated tahini. It’s no good and makes hummus and anything it touches just okay rather than luscious and delicious and special. After tasting and testing enough tahini to fill Little Traverse Bay, I recommend Soom, Al Wadi, and Lebanon Valley. Shake the jar often and your tahini will last more than a year in the pantry.
The lemon. Fresh-squeezed, nothing but. Period. The end.
The garlic. Get the green sprout out of your clove if there is one by cutting it in half lengthwise. An annoying but worth-it extra minute to avoid raw garlic burn.
The liquid. Use chickpea cooking (or canned) liquid for added body and flavor, or water. Either should be cold, and add it sparingly so your hummus is thick enough to make a well in the center with the back of a spoon.
The olive oil. Extra-virgin (mine is from Lebanon and I adore it). Your best finishing oil thanks you for finally employing it here. Over top, not in the mix.
A hit of sumac makes a gorgeous presentation. Or top with lamb kwarma. Or red bell pepper that’s been sautéed briefly over high heat, with a hit of harissa or cayenne. I like to reverse roles and spoon my hummus atop a bowl of tabbouleh. It’s very happy there.
One last thing: share! Especially with me! I’d love to see a constant stream of smooth, delectable hummus photos flooding our social media. How should we tag it?
#hummusaddict? True, but harsh. I’m thinking this: #hummuslove. Yours and mine.
The key to smooth, luscious hummus is to make every ingredient the best it can be. Peeled chickpeas are essential to the texture of your hummus, which you can get here. To skin your own canned or cooked chickpeas, saute the chickpeas over medium heat with a touch of baking soda, then put them in a bowl with lots of water. Agitate and rub the chickpeas with your fingers and pour off the water with skins; repeat several times. This recipe is adapted from my cookbook, Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh and Classic Recipes from My Lebanese Kitchen.
- 2 cups cooked skinless chickpeas (they take about 2 hours to cook properly from dry)
- 1 clove garlic, green sprout removed and minced
- 1/2 cup tahini, well-stirred before measuring
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Chickpea cooking liquid, or cold water, as needed
- Extra virgin olive oil, for finishing
- Sumac, for finishing
In the bowl of a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic until a thick paste forms. Give this a couple of minutes (longer than you'd think), to get the chickpeas very well pureed. With the machine running, add the tahini, salt, and lemon juice. Taste and see if you'd like the hummus thinner or lighter. If so, Slowly add cold cooking liquid or water, a tablespoon at a time, until the hummus is very smooth and light but still thick (again, process a little longer than usual). Taste and adjust with salt and lemon juice as needed.
Spoon the hummus onto salad plate or bowl, spreading the hummus with the back of a spoon to form a well in the center. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac, and serve immediately.