My relationship with houmous can only be described as dysfunctional. On the one hand, it’s an integral part of my motherland and its culture so I have to love it, but I fear it and dislike it at the same time, and every time I go near it my belly starts screaming “You’ll regret it.”. Still, I don’t have to like everything I cook, right? I can just enjoy cooking it for others… Except houmous intimidates me, and part of that at least must be due to the fact that every time I think of making it my ex-husband’s voice pops into my head, "Everyone thinks they can make houmous, but no, they can’t. Good houmous, is not easy to make. No wonder you don’t like houmous. They don’t know how to make a good one in Australia. Wait till we go to Israel, I will take you to the most amazing place in Israel where the houmous is to die for. It’s far but it’s worth the drive." When we finally made it to Israel he would prepare a day before for the long drive ahead which was 15 minutes away (for Israelis that’s like a day trip) so we could eat the BEST HOUMOUS EVER. When we’d get there, I’d be like, “Nu, where is this Michelin guide 5-star restaurant?" and he would point to a rundown hole in the wall where the resident troglodyte was selling this culinary masterpiece in takeaway containers, just in case you didn’t fancy the ambience of the alfresco dining on the plastic tables and chairs… Did it make me a convert after all the build up? No it did not!
So the great houmous challenge was a daunting one for me. But I’m a face the fear and do it kind of person (wait ten, twenty years, but eventually, do it). So I took the plunge. Now I just want you to know that I love you people, because if I’m going to find a houmous recipe for you it has to be as good as the one my ex thought he was taking me to in Israel. So I searched high and low. I poured over books and surfed the net at midnight under the covers (so not to wake my partner) to get you an authentic homemade recipe without too much work ... I wouldn’t do this for any one else, except my kids and my siblings and my friends, but other than that, only you.
Still, after reading recipe after recipe (Israeli ones of course) I was none the wiser; all I got was mixed messages and the more I researched the more confused I got: "If you cook the chickpeas for too long they will come out dry. The longer you cook the chickpeas the better. Don’t forget the bio-carb soda because it makes the chickpeas softer. Avoid soda at all costs because you will be able to taste it. Leave skin on the chickpeas, don’t leave skin on. And God forbid they should give quantities (now I know where my mum gets it from). Just put a little bit of this but not too little. Mix it but not for too long. Nonetheless, despite all odds, I was going to get a good houmous recipe come what may... And here it is a simple-to-make thick, rich, creamy Houmous. Was it worth it? you tell me folks!
Please note I let the chickpeas cook for 2 1/2 hours.
I didn’t get the skin of all the chickpeas and the houmous still turned out just fine.
1 1/4 cup dry chickpeas (it will yield about 3 cups of soaked chickpeas)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3 to 4 ice cubes (i break them up a little with the back of the knife first)
1/3 cup tahini
½ tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
Hot water (if needed)
Soak chickpeas in plenty of water overnight (water needs to be at least doubled the volume of chickpeas). When ready, drain chickpeas and place them in a medium-sized heavy cooking pot. Cover with water by about 2 inches and add teaspoon of bi-carbonate soda. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Turn heat off Leave for a few minutes. Take a handful of chickpeas at a time and gently rub under running water to remove the skins. Discard skins. Let the chickpeas cool completely.
Take a handful of cooled chickpeas and set aside in a small bowl. Dry remaing chickpeas and place chickpeas with minced garlic in a food processor. Puree until a smooth, powder-like mixture forms.
While processor is running, add ice cubes, tahini, salt, and lemon juice. Blend for about 4 minutes or so. Check, and if the consistency is too thick still, run processor and slowly add a little hot water. Blend until you reach desired silky smooth consistency.
Spread in a serving bowl and add a generous drizzle of olive oil Add a few chickpeas to the middle, and sprinkle with sweet paprika.
I love hearing from you! Let me know how it went and feel free to spread the word/passion/love, the more the merrier!
With love and gratitude