I have tweaked and honed my hummus recipe for the last 20 years or so. In the past, I used to add all of the ingredients to the food processor at the same time and I used to be satisfied with that. Then I picked up a few tricks, combining techniques until I created a consistently smooth, fluffy, lemony hummus with an almost whipped texture. My friends and family can’t stop asking me about it.
Many years ago when I posted about hummus on this blog, my major insight at the time was that a Palestinian friend taught me to increase the amounts of lemon and tahini. At that time, I even started adding lemon zest. The lemony flavor was great, but because he put all of the ingredients in the food processor at the same time, the consistency was never very smooth.
Then a few years ago I learned from Zahav’s revolutionary hummus method how to use baking soda to cook dried chickpeas with a softer texture. Another trick from Zahav is that they combine lemon juice in the food processor with whole garlic cloves and salt, letting the garlic infuse into the lemon juice. Then they strain off the garlic so the final product won’t be overly garlicky. This creates a delicate flavor. They also only used used olive oil as a garnish, not blended into the hummus itself. I love this more complicated version, but sometimes I want to make hummus immediately with canned chickpeas when I haven’t prepped the day before by soaking dried chickpeas overnight.
So I started experimenting with several of Zahav’s techniques and applying them to canned chickpeas, simmering canned chickpeas with baking soda to make them softer. It works. I also adopted the lemon juice and garlic infusion trick.
Then recently I discovered another technique from Ottolenghi’s new cookbook Shelf Love. He adds a few ice cubes to the food processor at the same time as the warm chickpeas from the stove. The combination of hot and cold whips the hummus into a fluffier texture. I realized that at times when I had made the canned version of the Zahav technique, the final product was a little runny. Now with ice cubes I could create a fluffy whipped texture that is more satisfying and easier to dip with.
So now I combine all of these techniques. The process has a few more steps, but it’s worth it. I make hummus almost every week, and usually put it out for guests. Everyone always asks why it’s so good. I finally wrote down my process for you. Enjoy, friends.
smooth, Fluffy & Lemony Hummus Recipe
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon baking soda
zest and juice of 1.5 – 2 lemons
2 large garlic cloves, whole and unpeeled
2 big pinches salt
4-5 tablespoons tahini
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 ice cubes
good quality olive oil, to garnish
sumac or za’atar, to garnish, optional
Drain the can of chickpeas. Place in a small saucepan and add water to cover. Add a teaspoon of baking soda. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. This will soften the chickpeas.
In the meantime, work on the lemon juice and garlic infusion. Zest the lemons, reserving the zest for later. Juice the lemons, then combine lemon juice, whole garlic cloves, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times to break up the garlic cloves. Then let it sit about 15 minutes to marinate.
Drain the lemon juice, discarding the garlic and keeping the lemon juice. Return the lemon juice to the food processor. Add the tahini, cumin, and lemon zest. Puree until it forms a smooth paste.
Drain the soften chickpeas, discarding the liquid. Add the softened chickpeas to the food processor. Also add 3 ice cubes. Puree for about a minute until fully smooth. Taste for salt, lemon, tahini.
Serve in a wide, shallow bowl. Use a rubber spatula or spoon to make the surface smooth and create a gentle well in the center of the hummus. Pour good quality olive oil in the center well. Enjoy with flatbread, crackers, raw broccolini, carrots, etc. Sometimes I sprinkle sumac or za’atar on top, but it is totally optional.