I’ve always liked houmous. I’ve been mindlessly dipping carrot sticks and crisps into it for years without thinking there was any more joy to be eked out from this humble dip. I certainly never considered making it myself. The little pots from the supermarket are tasty enough – why trouble yourself with the hassle when it’s already pretty good. Boy, was I wrong!
After finding a recipe online I made my first batch and couldn’t believe how bold and punchy the flavours were. It makes the pre-made stuff seem like wallpaper paste in comparison. After many (many, many!) different batches where I would slightly tweak the flavours and quantities this is my favourite recipe for a “classic” houmous. I mean classic in the loosest sense, just in that it will go with anything. You can dunk crisps or crudites, smear it on a slice of toast, blob it onto your jacket potato or do as I sometimes do and just eat it with a spoon.
The trick to getting super smooth houmous is to remove the skin from the chickpeas. I know, I know, believe me – I really wish this wasn’t the case and I will happily admit that I initially thought that this step was nonsense. I’ve got better things to do with my life than standing around shelling chickpeas, for goodness sake! Having made some pretty smooth houmous with my super charged blender I didn’t see how much better it could get. But I grudgingly tried removing the skins for one batch, mainly just so I could legitimately state once and for all that it’s not worth the hassle, and yep you guessed it – even silkier houmous! Darn it.
Working quickly removing the skins from one can takes me about 6 minutes 17 seconds. Yes, I timed it. If I take my bowl, tin and blender (bowl with chickpeas in, their empty tin to put the removed skins in, the blender jug to put the peeled chickpeas straight into – I have a system people!) in front of the telly to do it it takes me about 20 minutes because I end up getting absorbed into a show and my shelling rate slows considerably. It’s quite a satisfying task actually. You just squeeze each pea between thumb and forefingers and they pop right out. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys popping bubble wrap I think it would appeal. It also strikes me as the kind of thing that would be good to do with children. Especially if you dress it up as a game, rather than what it actually is – getting children to do your menial kitchen tasks for you.
If you honestly can’t be bothered (or don’t have any children at your disposal) it is VERY delicious with the skins so please don’t let the shelling step be a deterrent – just skip that part of the recipe. As the length of this post and the enthusiasm in my voice shows I am now rather obsessed with the stuff and my perfectionist traits lead me to become insistent about making houmous the best it can be. But I’ve made seriously great houmous, chickpea skins and all so the skinning bit is certainly not the be all and end all. Plus you could argue that it’s healthier to keep the skins in, I’m sure they are a great source of fibre and nutrients. So whatever floats your boat. Maybe try both ways and see which you prefer? Because after you’ve tried making your own houmous once, I’m pretty confident it won’t be your last.
Super Smooth Homemade Houmous
Makes: A good plateful
Prep time: 20 mins
- 400g can of chickpeas
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt (halve if using fine salt)
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp water
- Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped, plus a few leaves for garnish (oregano also works well)
- Drain the chickpeas (consider keeping hold of the water from the can – this is Aquafaba) and place into a bowl.
- Get your blender or food processor container and one by one pick up each chickpea and squeeze between thumb and forefingers to pop the chickpea out of its skin into the container. Put the skins to one side to be discarded (see above for more into about the skinning step!)
- Add all the remaining ingredients, aside from the herbs to the container, put on the lid and process until really smooth. It should be quite thick so you may have to stop to scrape down the sides of the container a few times. If you’re using a blender and it’s struggling to get going you can add a few more tablespoons of water to get it going. Stop to taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, sometimes you need a little more salt at this stage.
- Once the houmous is almost done add the herbs and blend until the herbs are evenly distributed but before it blends entirely and turns the houmous green (will still taste good but less visually appealing!)
- Scrape out the houmous and if eating immediately smooth it onto a plate or into a bowl, drizzle with a little oil, and add a few leaves of parsley. If saving for later it can be placed in any covered container in the fridge and will keep for about a week.