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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Revisiting Hummus

A couple of weeks ago I showed you how to make hummus thanks to a food processor. In that video, I used cans of chick peas from Trader Joes. I've always found that the quality of canned chick peas really vary from one brand to another. I also know, but didn't mention that the best chick peas are dried chick peas. A day after my hummus video I made another batch of hummus using dried chick peas. It's not like I never have made hummus from dried (and rehydrated) chick peas. It's just that I couldn't remember if dried make a noticeably better hummus than canned. They do and the memory of this second go around with hummus makes my mouth water as I write this. I'm not sure why it's so much better, but let me tell you a couple of my tricks.

First of all, use plenty of salt in the water for boiling the chick peas. For a 1 pound bag of chick peas I use at least 1/4 cup salt. I know this sounds like a lot, but the chick peas soften quickly and are perfectly flavored right off the bat. In fact, when I processed the rehydrated chick peas and other ingredients I didn't need to add any more salt.

Second, after the peas are softened and cooled, but still in the water, I work them through my hands squeezing them gently to remove their skins. My goal is to remove all the skins, but that is tedious and unnecessary. As the skins are sloughed of the chick pea, they rise to the surface of the water. Periodically, I scoop off the skins and then return to squeezing the chick peas. I don't even know if this makes a difference because I've never done a side by side test. If I do, I'll report my results right on the blog.

Third, this is optional (as is the skin removal BUT NOT THE SALTING OF THE WATER), but processing the peas while still warm with the other ingredients allows you the option of eating "naturally" warm hummus. It's absolutely delicious and I would venture to say it's almost a unique experience. Of course, if you're entertaining, you would have to time your preparation just right. Try it some time, though, and I think you will like it.

My recommendations for the best hummus you can possibly make then are:
Dried peas instead of canned
Use plenty of salt when rehydrating the beans
Slough off as much of the skins of the softened chick peas as possible
Process hummus while peas are still warm and have a go at warmed hummus. Delicious!


jenj said...

Thanks for your knowledge and expertise and advise.

I've been on a prolonged hummus making and eating kick for months now. I am SO hooked! I've been creating a large variety of tasty hummus recipes with canned chickpeas. Yesterday I purchased a bag of dried chickpeas from a East Indian store and decided to make a go of doing it all from scratch.

I rehydrated them in water over night. I wished I'd seen your blog before I soaked them as I see you just add salt and boil them. But....I know I'll be okay no matter. I'll work this first batch by boiling my pre-soaked beans but will match your experienced way in the future.

Thanks for your kind articulate scrumptious way and I'll have to check out more of your blog and videos.


Anonymous said...

I have a large amount of dry chick peas and would like to give this a try. I didn't exactly understand your post, so I have a few questions, if you have a minute:

1/ Did you boil the dry chickpeas directly? I mean, "dry chickpeas + water + salt, bring to a boil", or did you soak them overnight first? Either way, how much water, and how long did you boil them?

2/ I'm having trouble visualizing how much dry chickpeas I should prepare if a recipe calls for X amount of normal (wet) chickpeas. Meaning, if I read "2 cups of chickpeas", how much mass of dry chickpeas should I expect to soak/boil/prepare?