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I like hummus to be very smooth and creamy. So first you need to deal with the chickpea skins which is where the graininess originates. Preferably, you get skinless chickpeas (see below) and if possible use a Vitamix.  

Next, it’s useful to understand that hummus is an emulsion—like face cream—a suspension of oil in water. What determines its texture is the size of those oil droplets: the smaller the creamier. To get small droplets you need high speed (shear)—like from a Vitamix—and low temperature. Problem is that the act of generating the high speed also releases heat, hence the ice cubes (see below). 


Hummus has only a few ingredients (restraint is key—less is more): chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), garlic, lemon, salt and water (optionally some cumin). But it’s critical to get the best quality ingredients—small dried chickpeas (never from a can), Lebanese tahini (made from Ethiopian sesame), freshly bought garlic (discard if there is any green inside the cloves). 


The final pillar of my approach is a bit of applied chemistry. When garlic is cut it releases an enzyme which results in a slightly bitter / harsh taste, but the presence of acidity inhibits this enzyme leading to a mellower, less aggressive garlic flavor. I harness this concept by blending uncut garlic in lemon juice, which allows me to use a lot more garlic without it overwhelming. I also like to add some roasted garlic to bring another dimension to the taste. 


Because there are no preservatives, this hummus will taste quite different to your store-bought variety. The other big difference is that there’s no added oil, it all comes from the tahini (store-bought hummus contains a lot of added vegetable oil because it’s cheaper than tahini). It should keep in the refrigerator for about a week and can take up to a day for the flavors to settle down. Also, the taste and texture will vary with temperature—I like to eat mine at room temperature (or sometimes even warm). Finally, I’ve discovered that hummus can be frozen (so you never run out). Once defrosted, you will have to give it very a good stir (maybe even a quick blend) and possibly add a little water if it’s too hard—but it should end up about 85% as good as fresh. 


OK, so with that preamble aside, here’s the recipe for Roy’s Hummus.

  • 500g dried chickpeas (small, preferably organic, even better pre-peeled).

  • 300g good quality light tahini (Lebanese or Israeli, never the Greek stuff – no offense).

  • 220ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 large lemons).

  • 2 medium-size garlic bulbs (yes the whole lot – trust me on this).

  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt.

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin (optional).

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled.

  • 1 celery stalk.

  • ¼ medium onion (peeled).

  • 1-2 bay leaves. 

  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda.

  • Ice water and ice.


Now here’s what I do in sequence (taking advantage of breaks between steps to do some cleaning up).


  • Soak the chickpeas in plenty of cold water for at least 8 hrs, preferably 24 hrs (only overnight if using the pre-peeled variety), changing the water occasionally. 

  • Turn the oven to 400F. Cut the top off one of the garlic bulbs so most / all the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with oil and bake for 1 hr (from when the oven reaches temperature).

  • Take the other bulb and break it apart into cloves, disposing of any loose skin (but don’t bother peeling the cloves). Pulse the cloves with the lemon juice in a food processor until the pieces are very small, but not a paste. Let stand covered for 20-30 minutes. 

  • Meanwhile add the chickpeas, baking soda, carrot, celery, onion and bay leaves to a pot with enough water to cover by about 1 cm or 1/3 inch. Don’t cut the vegetables as you’ll want to fish them out later – ideally put them and the bay leaves into a cheesecloth pouch / spice bag for easy removal later. Bring to the boil, but not too quickly so as to avoid the pot over-boiling (you will probably need to skim off the foam at the beginning), then simmer partially covered for 30-45 minutes until the chickpeas are very, very soft (they begin losing their shape). You want the water to reduce a little, although you may need to add a some to make sure the chickpeas don’t burn. Alternatively, if you have a pressure cooker (Instant Pot) cook on high pressure with the vegetables and baking soda for 15 min and just enough water to cover the chickpeas, then with the lid off keep heating to drive off some of the water (e.g. using the sauté function). 

  • Now strain the lemon / garlic mixture through a sieve, squeezing out any remaining liquid by pressing with a large spoon. Discard the solids and refrigerate the liquids (covered) to cool. 

  • Measure 300g of tahini, making sure to mix it thoroughly before pouring out the quantity needed. Refrigerate in a covered container (I use a measuring jug plus food wrap). 


  • By now the roasted garlic should be ready. Take it out of the oven and allow to cool. 


  • Once the chickpeas are cooked, remove the vegetables and bay leaves and pour the remainder immediately into a Vitamix (less preferably a food processor). Whilst hot, blend until very, very smooth (if using a Vitamix, angle the plunger into a corner of the container while blending to ensure no cavitation occurs). Err on the longer side – you can’t over-blend as long as the chickpeas are still hot. 


  • Once smooth, transfer into a food processor container (if first using the Vitamix, otherwise just leave in place). Then add the roasted garlic cloves (you’ll need to sperate them from the skin). Cover with food wrap and refrigerate. We want the bended chickpeas cool for when we make the emulsion (although blending them very smooth is easier when they’re just cooked and hot). 


  • Wait about an hour for everything to cool. 

  • Prepare some ice water in a small jug with a fair amount of ice. Take the ingredients out of the refrigerator. Add the salt and cumin (optional) to the mashed chickpeas. Begin blending. Once the chickpeas are smooth again, with the blender running, begin adding the cool garlic-infused lemon juice. Keep the blender running and add a couple of ice cubes, then very slowly drizzle in the cold tahini, stopping about 3 times during the process to add an ice cube or two. Now keep blending, slowly adding ice water or the occasional ice cube until the hummus is very, very smooth and just a little more liquid than you’d like – it will firm up in the fridge. If you’ve stopped to check how firm the hummus is and you happen to taste it, and you find it doesn’t taste of much, don’t despair –there’s a point when enough water is added that suddenly all the flavors open up. Remember also that the taste will keep settling for about a day after preparation. 


Now that’s about it. You should have a lot of hummus. Refrigerate what you think you’ll eat over the next week and freeze the rest. Hummus is like a base, there are endless possibilities of how to serve it and what to pair it with (I love it with grilled meats). I will share some of my favorite combos in another post… Stay tuned and enjoy!

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