Better Hummus: 5 Tips to Amp Up the Flavor
Hummus has kind of been the king of spreads lately; everybody loves it, and everybody wants it on toast. Making your own is the natural next step. But how can you whip up better hummus, for the perfect texture and taste? We have some ideas for you.
I wince at the thought of buying hummus from the supermarket because, to put it mildly, it’s always a letdown. It just seems to be lacking the flavors and the texture that authentic hummus brings to the table. And I had one shining moment of realizing the great potential of hummus back in Krakow, Poland. I was on a trip there and my friend found this amazing place to eat called ‘Hummus and Happiness’. And the hummus we ate there… well, quite frankly it belongs in a fairy tale, a very happy one. That’s when I decided I want more out of my hummus than that supermarket taste. My research took me many places. But I did find some tips for any hummus enthusiast.
First of all: what is hummus? Well, it’s made with chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seed paste), lemon, garlic, olive or sesame oil, salt, and cumin. And it can have a variety of textures and flavors added in. Now that we know that, let’s see how you can make it even better.
Tips for better hummus
1. Use the right kind of chickpeas
This is always rule number 1, for all of the cooking. So, if you have the means, then make sure you buy the right kind of chickpeas you need. Our recommendation? Use dry chickpeas, but make sure that they are sort of fresh. How do you do that? Well, get it from somewhere where there are a lot of people buying it. Don’t get it from an obscure store that nobody ever visits. Because stale old dried chickpeas do not great hummus make. If that’s not an option for you, then get organic canned chickpeas and those will do nicely.
Make sure that all of the other ingredients are as fresh as possible and then you can start! Get some pure sesame seed tahini while you’re at it!
2. Do the right thing for the chickpeas
To get the better hummus sorted out, make sure you prep it correctly. So you’re using dried chickpeas, right? Well, when you soak them overnight, make sure you add a bit of baking soda to make them more tender. And when you cook them after that, don’t remove them from the pot while they still retain their shape. This is one of the rare situations where it’s best to boil them until they’re pretty mushy. And add a bit of baking soda to the boiling water, as well.
3. Watch out for texture
If I had a penny for every time I blabbed on about texture in my articles, I would probably be lounging on some island right now, with a fantasy novel in my hand. But this is always true: texture is an important part of the eating experience. So first blend your tahini until it’s super creamy, and then add the tender chickpeas to the mix and blend. That way, your spread will turn just the right amount of creamy and chunky. And don’t blend the oil into everything either. Add it on top.
4. Let the ingredients cool off
I can be impatient in the kitchen, but I am learning the virtues of just cooling my heels and waiting. So instead of adding your straight-from-the-boiling-water chickpeas to the blender, let them reach room temperature. That way, when you blend everything together, you have a greater chance of the spread retaining its texture the next day. It’s the same with the tahini, it doesn’t do well under heat. So make sure everything is cool. Cool?
5. Don’t let the garlic take over
I feel dirty just saying this, but garlic can be overpowering in any dish if you overdo it. So use just a little bit of it. This is definitely a case of ‘less is more’, but if you have other preferences you can experiment with the ratio in time, and make your own balanced hummus, customized for your taste buds.