Back to Basics: Hummus

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I had never seen so many varieties of hummus before I came to New Zealand.  Kiwis have an obsession with hummus and understandably so, it can be so healthy when made fresh, packed full of protein and fibre, calcium, iron, vitamins and antioxidants.

While convenient, a tub of hummus can cost around the same as a kilo of dried chickpeas, which will produce almost enough hummus to bathe in!  I highly recommend a visit to your local Indian supermarket or whole-food bulk food store for the best value, while there you can pick up a variety of dried legumes, dried fruits, flours, spices and countless other goodies at a fraction of the cost of the pre-packaged versions found in the supermarket.

You can of course use tinned chickpeas if you are short of time but for the freshest and cheapest option you just need a little planning.  Dried chickpeas need to soak for a minimum of 4 hours but I usually soak them at least 12 hours as this helps to activate the chickpea ensuring a quicker cooking time and unlocking beneficial enzymes, increasing vitamin contents and making it easier to digest just as with sprouting.

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Once soaked, the chickpeas should have more than doubled in size. Give them a quick rinse before throwing them in a saucepan and covering them with fresh cold water.  Then it is just a case of bringing them to the boil.  Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, this usually takes around 30 minutes but depends on how dry the chickpeas were and the volume you are cooking.

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You may find as the starches cook, the water starts to foam like when cooking potatoes or pasta.To prevent it from bubbling over, simply lay a wooden cooking utensil (spoon, spatula or chopstick) across the top of the saucepan.

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When the chickpeas are tender, drain them and set aside to cool completely.  Then place them along with the remaining ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blitz.

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As you blend the mixture scrape down the sides to ensure everything is incorporated, if the hummus is looking a bit dry or the food processor is struggling then add in a little water until it reaches the desired consistency.

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Taste as you go as well to make sure the seasoning is right.  There is no right or wrong so if you like it a with a bit more zing then add in some more lemon juice, if you think it needs more salt, add in a little more.  A word of caution with the garlic though;  as the hummus rests the garlic will infuse and its flavour will strengthen so if it doesn’t seem very garlicky when you first make it, let it sit for a bit before adding more, it can give that bitter raw garlic taste if you add too much.

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This recipe makes a couple of heaped cups of hummus and will keep for 3 to 5 days, so it is great if you are having friends over, you have a large family or like us you just love hummus smeared on absolutely everything.  If you don’t think you could consume 2 cups of hummus in 3 to 5 days simply soak and cook the chickpeas then divide them freezing half for a later date or using them is some veggie patties, a salad, bake them with some spices for a crunchy snack or toss them in whatever you are cooking for dinner for a protein and fibre boost, then halve the remaining ingredients to make a smaller batch of hummus.

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Hummus topped with dukkah as well as toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Use your hummus as a spread on toast for breakfast topped with some cucumber, tomato or sprouts, add it to salads in place of dressing or use it in sandwiches with some salad and cold cuts. Simply served as a dip drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of dukkah is also delicious …however you have it once you have tasted your own homemade hummus you will be a complete convert and the shop bought variety will quite quickly be forgotten.

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Three simple topping ideas from top to bottom; toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, smoked paprika and dukkah.  Each one drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil first.


Back to Basics:  Hummus

Total cost: $4.00, Yield: 2 heaped cups
Chickpeas – Soak time: 4-36 hours, cook time: 30 mins
Hummus – Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup/200g dried chickpeas
  • Water for soaking and cooking
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1tsp salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of extra water for blending

Method:

  1. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water, leave to soak for 4-36 hours changing the water periodically.
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas then place in a medium saucepan, cover with fresh water and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender.
  3. Drain the chickpeas and set aside to cool.
  4. Once cold, place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor along with the remaining ingredients, blend until smooth.  You will probably need to scrape down as you go and add in some of the water to help the blending process as well as lightening the hummus.
  5. Once blended taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Also if it seems too dense add in a little more lemon, oil or water to loosen it up.

The hummus will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.  Remember to factor in how fresh the chickpeas are i.e. if you cooked them the same day the hummus will last for 3-5 days but if you cook the chickpeas 2 days prior then the hummus will only be good for 1-3 days.

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2 thoughts on “Back to Basics: Hummus

    1. Hi Mel, that is a good question. It all depends on how much water you have added, if it is just a little then over time the chickpeas will soak it up as they are super absorbent. If it is a tonne then you could add some extra seasoning and use the hummus as more of a sauce or dressing. A double batch is a serious amount of dressing though! Maybe invite a bunch of friends over and have a hummus style cold soup with some nice flat breads! Hope that helps 😉

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