August 8, 2017
Store cupboard
Family Verdict:


250g dried chickpeas

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

270g light tahini paste

4 tbsp lemon juice

4 garlic cloves, crushed

100ml ice cold water


  1. The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
  3. Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups/600 g now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
  4. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.


So Hummus os one of this things where there are so many different variations, and so much opinion that it is difficult to know where to start. I occasionally crack open a tin of chick peas and make a version with olive oil etc but this feels, to some extent, like cheating.

So when a neighbour gave me a jar of chick pease(dried ones) I thought I would go back to basics and try to make some from scratch - so off to Ottolenghi (Jerusalem) I go and he of course has a recipe for what he calls Basic Hummus.

And imagine my particular surprise that it has NO oil in it. None at all. and yet it is creamy and lush as hummus should be - but presumably while being better for us all due to the lack of oil. It tastes and feels echt. Aside from soaking the chickpeas it is a surprisingly simple and quick process.

The use of cold water in the processing of the chickpeas seems important. One recipe I found suggests using ice cubes instead of cold water, and this is what I have done with good effect. I suggest you try it. I also did not use all the tahini that he suggests here (he uses a whole jar) primarily because of the overwhelming taste of sesame you get, which I actually prefer the chickpea and garlic to shine through.

So be careful with this, and the amount of water you add - to ensure you get the right kind of consistency you want, not too sloppy. And make sure you rest it for at least half an hour in the fridge to firm up and cool down. It makes a difference...

Incidentally this makes a LOT of hummus, so you may want to scale it down. I presume the "dry frying" with bicarbonate of soda is aimed to help loosen up the skins, aiding the rapid cooking of the chickpeas. They have been done within 20 minutes every time I have followed this recipe.

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