Best silky smooth hummus


Hummus - a levantine chickpea and tahini dip

I have been making hummus for years, all kinds of different variations, roasted pepper, lime and coriander, beetroot, even cauliflower, I'm sad to say. But I always come back to the classic version. Mostly I just quickly chuck everything together with supermarket tinned chickpeas and it will be absolutely fine. But I used to make a more refined version, which I had quite forgotten about.

I was inspired by our dinner at a Shepherd's Bush Syrian restaurant Ayam Zaman last weekend. We'd been out showing London to some of husband's family who were visiting and as a thank you for our tour guide services they wanted to take us to dinner. I remembered a friend recommending this little restaurant and we decided to give it a go since it was kind of on our way from Richmond Park back into Central London.

Ayam Zaman Shepherd's Bush restaurant, hummus and tabbouleh
Ayam Zaman hummus behind the tabbouleh - I didn't realise how awesome it would be, otherwise I would have snapped some close-ups.
All of the food was really good, but the star of the show was the humble hummus. I was surprised to see husband shovelling it in, he hasn't seemed so keen before. I concluded it meant that my hummus just wasn't up to scratch. A shock! But it made sense, because even I who love my own hummus thought this is almost a different dish. Just so gorgeously smooth and creamy and light. Mine all of a sudden felt brown and coarse and somehow just less dignified.

I'd become complacent in my levantine dip confidence and forgotten the true art of hummus. So the next morning I rushed to my nearest Middle-Eastern shop where I go often. They have the best fresh herbs, great fruit and veg and just more interesting stuff than the main supermarkets, like lamb heads. They call me sister, which never happens at Morrisons. So I bought a glass jar or chickpeas, I'm not sure if this really was going to make a big difference, but I wasn't going to risk anything and thought maybe these are a bit better than the tinned ones.

I didn't have time or patience for overnight soaking and boiling dried chickpeas - I have tried that before and I'm not sure if that makes such a big difference in the end, but I stand to be corrected. I still probably will continue buying these jars and tins, because when I want hummus I need it immediately. Like a haircut. You go on quite happily for months, and then one day you wake up and your hair won't do anything you want it to and you know you need to get an appointment within the next 24 hours or you might never be able to leave the house again. 

What I believe ultimately is the key to a beautifully yellow, silky smooth and delicate hummus is peeling the chickpeas, which is not a massive faff, but takes a bit of time. But then, what's the rush, husband would ask, and right he would be. The other secret to the best and most creamy hummus is adding enough tahini, I think I may have become a bit stingy with my tahini without realising. I also had a fresh jar of tahini, so it was still runny and oily and not that all-too-familiar cement-like lump desperately clinging to the bottom of the jar. And the third change to my normal hummus is that I left out garlic altogether and didn't even add any cumin or extra oil other that what was in the tahini. 

And as so often simplicity is the way to go. It very often is not the way I choose to go though, I'm not a naturally a less-is-more kind of a girl, I believe generally more is more, but I will have to try and remember to sometimes restrain myself a little. Patience and simplicity, my new mantra. Good luck to me.

The hummus turned out absolutely beautiful. I could have just eaten all of it directly from the blender, but I only ate about half because I wanted to obviously get husbands approval and admiration. That was after all the point of the exercise. That and the fact that I do love hummus in all its possible incarnations (even the cauliflower - if you have to eat cauliflower this is the way) and promise to respect it more in future.

Silky smooth hummus - chickpea dip

Creamy levantine chickpea dip -  hummus
Look how smooth - can you see?

Silky smooth and creamy hummus

Half a glass jar (200g drained) chickpeas
Juice of half a lemon
3-4 tbsp chickpea liquid
3-4 tbsp tahini 

Peel the chickpeas. Add all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Check the taste and adjust as necessary, add liquid if too thick. If you like an even stronger taste of tahini, add another spoon or two!

Spread on a plate with some care, decorate with a drizzle of good quality olive oil, paprika, chopped parsley and a few whole chickpeas.

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