The best hummus is perfectly balanced in flavor and texture. When crafting hummus, the flavor should be subtly garlicky, slightly acidic, and nutty. The texture should be lusciously creamy, light, and fluffy, with no grittiness associated. Honestly, we could wax poetic about dreamy, creamy hummus all. day. long. We’ll spare you for the sake of this blog.
Like many of you, we’ve enjoyed some of the most delicious and fluffy hummus throughout the States. This includes dining at Zahav or Sababa (or any of Alon Shaya’s newest establishments like Saba or Safta). In addition, and luckily to us all, we’ve been able to make restaurant-quality hummus at home thanks to learning the tricks of the trade from the pros through cookbooks, like Michael Solomonov’s or Adeena Sussman’s. Something that all of these places and books have in common is this essential tip: the more high-quality tahini used in the recipe, the better the hummus.
Let’s get into the essential tips and tricks to ensure the most desirable, luscious hummus, aka the best hummus ever!
Tip #1: You need a lot of good tahini
Let’s remember that not all tahini is created equally. When making hummus in particular, you should seek out a mildly bitter, yet nutty tahini that has a consistency somewhere in between an olive oil and peanut butter. That’s what you’ll find with Soom Tahini!
Further, it’s important to use more tahini than not. You’ll find a lot of hummus recipes in your Google searches that suggest using 2 tablespoons of tahini per 1 or even 2 cups of chickpeas. If there’s one thing you learn from this blog post, it’s not to skimp on the tahini for irresistible hummus!
To quote Adeena’s Sababa in her description of Magical Hummus (p. 116), “Use more tahini than you think is socially acceptable.” Adding more tahini to the mixture not only allows for a smoother, fluffier hummus, but a nutty, rich, and ultra-delicious dip. You heard it here first, folks — the more good tahini, the better.
Tip #2: Make the tahini sauce prior to making the hummus
Huh, what gives? Why can’t I just blend everything together at once? Well, this step we took from the Zahav cookbook. And we share it in the best tahini sauce blog. The reason for this is as follows.
First, you’ll want to marinate the garlic in the freshly-squeeze lemon juice for 10 minutes with half the salt. Garlic tends to have a harsh, pungent sharpness that might make the sauce too sharp and spicy. The acidity of lemon juice prevents the garlic from becoming too spicy. We suggest doing this step in a blender or a food processor. Blend on high for a few seconds and let the mixture stand for 10 minutes so that the garlic mellows.
After, you’ll want to pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the garlic chunks. This step ensures a perfectly smooth sauce and prevents the harsh taste of garlic from empowering the hummus, especially if you plan on eating this hummus for a few days after making it.
Tip #3: Add ice cold water to slightly thin the sauce
Adding ice cold water to a tahini-based sauce is an important step because it acts as a “fluffer.” In addition, the ice cold water helps it remain fluffy even after a couple of days in the fridge! Using ice cold water lightens the color of tahini, creating a hummus that has a more appetizing color. We recommend performing this step prior to adding in the cooked chickpeas.
Tip #4: Use dried chickpeas if you’re not pressed for time
Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, typically come in two variations: dry garbanzo beans or canned chickpeas. Canned chickpeas will do if you don’t have ample time to make hummus. However, you lose the integrity of the legume itself and some of the nutrients, too. Using soaked (and then cooked) dried chickpeas in your hummus creates a delicious, nutty flavor – showcasing what traditional hummus (not store-bought hummus) should taste like.
Tip #5: Cook the chickpeas until they are mushy
Mmm. Mushy chickpeas. How appetizing, right? In reality, although this sounds unpleasant, mushy chickpeas elevate your hummus game. Be sure to cook your chickpeas with baking soda. According to Bon Appetit, baking soda “raises the pH of the water and helps the little guys break down to a soft, pulpy mass… perfect for an ultra-smooth purée.”
In addition to making sure the chickpeas are mushy, you’ll want to remove the outer layer of ‘skin.’ During the cooking process, the skins tend to lift off the bean so that they’re easier to peel. However, this task can be labor-intensive. We suggest removing the skins by hand once the chickpeas have boiled and cooled, or once the chickpeas are 10 minutes into cooking, drained, and cooled.
We generally take a dish towel, pour the semi-cooked beans into the towel, and rub the skins off using the other side of the towel. It’s messy, but can help accomplish the task slightly faster. This is an important step because removing the skins ensures a super silky, smooth hummus.
Now make the best hummus ever!
Now that you’ve learned the tricks of the trade, be sure to check out our dreamy, creamy hummus recipe, which we deemed The Best Hummus Recipe Ever. The recipe highlights these essential steps and creates the most beautiful, fluffy, and creamy hummus.
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