The Secret of Super Smooth Silky Hummus

I thought I knew how to make hummus but a few trips to top quality mezze restaurants later I realised I didn’t – not how they made it anyway. Mine, like shop or deli-bought versions, was thicker and far less smooth. The stuff they serve in Sofra in Covent Garden or Ozer in Oxford Circus for example is far superior, more refined, creamier and more elegant by far.

Never one to be beaten on this sort of thing I spent a few hours on Sunday trying to work out how they made it. And I did. And I’ll tell you – but that’s all I will do. Luxury hummus recipes are easy to find on the web. All you need is a few tips:-

1) You have to soak and boil your own chick peas, tinned won’t work. Keep some of the cooking water back.

2) Look for the type or recipes that include natural yogurt and use the full fat version. No watery, weak imitations!

3) Now here’s the thing; once the chick peas are cooked, cool them and pop the skins off. They come off easily.

Is it time-consuming? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Oh, and what is the cooking water for? To add to the recipe to thin it down to a luxurious, thin silky texture about the consistency of double (or if you’re American ‘heavy’) cream; follow the recipe you have chosen and then bit by bit add the chick pea water and continue blending until you have that beautiful thinner, totally lump-free hummus served in good mezze restaurants. Slug a bit of good quality oil on, sprinkle on some chilli or smoked paprika, bung in a few olives, serve with some warm flatbread and you have yourself a gorgeous and inexpensive starter in these recession-hit times!

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “The Secret of Super Smooth Silky Hummus

  1. sami

    your comments on how to cook and skin the chickpeas are correct, however, the REAL hoummous, the middle eastern recipe – and the only one worth eating – unless you’re of western european stock – doesn’t even have a sniff of ANY yoghurt (of any kindwhatsoever). You add TEHINA (sesame seed pulp) to it, a little lemon juice, 1 or 2 garlic cloves if you feel courageous, salt and pepper. After having put the cooked and skinned chickpeas etc. through the food processor to make it as smooth or coarse as you like, mix the hoummous and tehina then, if you want it served the middle eastern way, you put a generous couple of tablespoons in the centre of a side plate, and, with the back of the tablespoon, and while rotating the plate at the same time, you GENTLY PUSH the hoummous with the spoon directing it towards the edge of the plate, (you’ll find you will have left a thin layer of hoummous in the centre of the plate and a nice circle of the hoummous around the edge. You then add extra virgin olive oil – in a thin stream – starting from the centre of the plate and towards, and onto the circle of hoummous, add paprika – or cayenne pepper – at equal intervals, in a decorative manner, and black olives (preferably of the KALAMATA variety, and dip in your warmed flat bread – or preferably – pitta bread, and then,ENJOY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Bon Appetit

  2. Sami,
    Where did I say you don’t include tahini?? I said I won’t give a recipe because there are plenty around on the web, which of course include tahini. I also said this recipe was for the silky, smooth versions of hummus served in mezze restaurants in London. Nowhere did I say I was giving an ‘authentic’ Middle Eastern recipe. I am, as you say, of western European stock and this is the way mezze has been adapted to our tastes. I’m just telling people how Middle Eastern restaurants in the capital here achieve that texture!
    jo

  3. hummus in the traditional sense doesn’t contain yoghurt (it’s supposed to be a vegan food), but as you say jo, hummus tastes have been adapted the world over, to suit the tastes of the eaters

    my family don’t like the taste of tahini, so when i make chick pea dip, i use more olive oil – i find that the addition of yoghurt in dips makes them creamier, which is why i usually add yoghurt to an aubergine dip (another middle eastern european dish which goes by different names and different recipes according to where it is made)

  4. Yes, as I said, my version is an adaptation, just like yours is. It is the type we get served in modern mezze restaurants in London run by Middle Eastern/Turkish/Greek proprieters who are evolving their countries’ cuisine just like a lot of other countries are.

    I call aubergine dip ‘baba ganoush’, by the way xx

  5. staunch greek food bloggers would die if they heard their melitzanosalata being called baba ganoush – i was told off recently for naming it thus!

  6. Well, as you said, it goes by different names and diferent recipes according to where it’s made. That’s the name I know it by but if other people call it something different that’s fine by me. It amazes me what people get themselves worked up about!

    jo x

  7. Oh – I’ve just remembered that I’ve also seen aubergine dip listed as ‘aubergine caviar’ on menus in London. Isn’t that delightful? Bought a smile to my face!
    jo x

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