July 13, 2012

The Secret to Restaurant-Quality Homemade Hummus that NO ONE Tells You

Picture this:

Bo and I are sitting in a Mediterranean restaurant - starving - when the waitress walks over and delivers our appetizer: hummus with pita bread.  We both grab a triangle of pita, dip deeply into the traditional bean dip, and then utter a sigh of intense satisfaction at the perfect creaminess and rich flavor.  Now this is hummus!

And then, inevitably, I get pissed off.

Because I seriously love hummus, and it sincerely irritates me that, for some completely unknown reason, I cannot seem to recreate this seemingly simple dip at home.  I mean, honestly, how hard should it be to blend a few ingredients together in my food processor?!  I use the same ingredients that every recipe tells me to.  I use the same proportions that every restaurant chef has instructed me to; and yet it is never. the. same.!

(Insert exasperation here!)

Well today, I offer hope to all of the exasperated-homemade-hummus-makers of the world; and that hope comes in the humble form of a single phrase: 


I have no idea why no recipe mentions this small little fact (actually, I think that it is a conspiracy, contrived by the Mediterranean restaurants of the world, against all at-home cooks that wish to recreate this traditional dish in the comfort of their own kitchen), but it will seriously turn your hummus-making-world upside down!  By simply cooking the beans the texture is smoother and the flavor is more robust (and, yet, simultaneously more delicate).  

Seriously, this one. little. change. will instantly turn your so-so hummus into restaurant quality!

Traditional Hummus
Serves 8-10

1 can garbanzo beans: drained, rinsed, and cooked (see below for more detail)
scant 1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
6T lemonjuice
1/3C tahini
2-4T leftover cooking liquid (or water)
EVOO, for garnish

  • Place the drained and rinsed garbanzo beans into a medium saucepan.
  • Barely cover with water, bring to a low boil, and then reduce to simmer for 45-55 minutes.
    • Note: You should be fine, but make sure that all of the water doesn't evaporate out of the pan, leaving the beans to burn.  There should always be a shallow level of water in the pan.
  • Once the beans have cooked and softened, immediately place them into the food processor with the salt, paprika, lemonjuice, and tahini.
  • Process the mixture on low.
  • As the mixture is processing, add in 2-4T of the leftover cooking liquid (or water).
  • Increase the processing speed to medium - or high - for one minute.
  • Transfer the hummus to a medium Tupperware container.
  • Serve chilled and garnished with EVOO alongside crudites, crackers, etc.

As a bit of a side-note, I prefer to garnish the hummus with EVOO right before I serve my hummus.  I have found that, if I add the EVOO beforehand, it hardens in the refrigerator and doesn't taste as good (not to mention the texture, which is similar to solidified bacon grease...not exactly appetizing).  You certainly don't have to do this, but I thought I would pass along the suggestion just in case!

As a side-note: the next time you make my "Cheesy" Hummus, Salsa Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper and Cilantro Hummus, or Avocado Hummus make sure to COOK THE BEANS!

Tomorrow we're off to a pool party!  Hopefully I will remember my camera and have a fun weekend post to share with you next time.

Question of the Day:

Do you have any "secret tricks" in the kitchen?!  If so, I would love for you to share one (or two) in the "Comments" below!

Ally and Bo

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