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!