An essay on hummus. How do you make better hummus than everyone else? Build flavour and complexity with layers. Think of it as unwrapping a pass-the-parcel present, getting better and more exciting each time you pass through another layer. This is how to extract the most amount of flavour from your ingredients, which will enhance, balance and add complexity.

  • Roasting your chickpeas will transform them from pappy blobs of beige, to golden nuggets that taste nutty and buttery.
  • Tahini will make your hummus silky smooth – “mouthfeel” affects taste!
  • Toasting whole spices instead of using ground. Whilst toasting whole spices, fragrant oils are released which amp up their aroma tenfold.
  • Fresh chopped herbs like coriander or parsley will add a contrasting brightness against the deep toasty-ness of the spices.
  • Use preserved lemons instead of fresh lemons for a mellower, more complex acidity. Think of preserved lemons as older, wiser and fuller in flavour. They’ll bring a certain umami factor to your hummus that you’ll definitely notice.
  • Roasting garlic will mellow its astringency, adding sweetness which will balance the bitter acidity of the lemon.
  • Season with a salt that isn’t table salt! Table salt is likely to be iodized which will give your food a chemical aftertaste. Maldon sea salt is the undisputed winner for me.
  • Finish with good quality extra virgin olive oil which will add peppery spice and olive-like fruitiness. Olives are also the taste of the Mediterranean which is exactly what you want your hummus to remind you of! 

So, to conclude the hummus essay: rinse as much flavour out of your individual ingredients as possible and consider how they compliment each other. Apply flavour layering to all your cooking and your food will taste vibrant and exciting!

Best-Ever Hummus

Best-Ever Hummus

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Course: DipsCuisine: Middle EasternDifficulty: Easy

Make the best hummus by building flavour and complexity with layers.

Ingredients

  • 7 cloves garlic peeled

  • 2 x 400 g cans chickpeas, drained & rinsed

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • 1 tbsp chopped preserved lemons, seeds discarded. Use peel & pulp

  • 2 tsp liquid from the jar of preserved lemons

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for toasting chickpeas

  • 2 tbsp water

  • sea salt

  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander

  • olive oil, za’atar, sumac, paprika, to serve

Directions

  • Roasted Garlic
  • Preheat oven to 180˚C
  • Place garlic cloves in centre of a piece of tin foil or baking paper.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, stir to coat.
  • Fold foil over garlic cloves to make a little packet.
  • Place foil packet in a baking dish and roast until garlic is soft, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove and allow to cool.
  • Hummus
  • To toast the chickpeas, heat a glug of olive oil in a large pan. Add the chickpeas and cook until they turn colour slightly and begin to smell nutty. Continuously move them around the pan so that they don’t catch. Leave to cool slightly then add to a food processor.
  • Wipe down the pan with a kitchen towel and return to a medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander spices and toast for a few seconds. Add to the food processor also.
  • Place the tahini, roasted garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the water to thin the hummus if necessary, processing to combine.
  • Stir through the fresh , chopped coriander and test again for seasoning. Add salt if it needs it.
  • Top with a good drizzle of olive oil, sprinkling of za’atar, sumac and paprika.
  • Chill slightly before eating.

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