RECIPE: #StayHome houmous [v]

Making your own houmous – along with having a bash at sourdough bread – is a rite of passage for any enthusiastic quarantine culinarian.

Makes a fair bit
Chickpeas 400g tin (240g net)
Garlic 4 cloves
Tahini 6 tablespoons
Cumin 1tsp whole or 1/2 tsp ground
Olive oil ~2 glugs
Lemon juice of 2-3 fresh lemons – try to avoid the bottled stuff
Salt to taste towards the end of blending

Firstly, get a medium-low heat under a small frying pan. Add your whole cumin and dry-toast it until it’s giving off a strong fragrance. These can quickly burn so be careful not to take them too far. Remove from pan and crush / blend – either with a pestle and mortar or in a blender. Skip this step altogether if using ground cumin.

Though this is a hotly contested point, the next thing we’ll be doing is removing the harshness from the garlic before mixing with the rest of the fresh ingredients. Peel the cloves of garlic, top and tail them, then crush them with the flat of your knife’s blade. Add these to a pan with a bit of olive oil, coating in the oil. If you want to be super economical at this stage, add a heap of olive oil, and decant the resulting garlic oil into a jar for use later. Keep a medium-low heat under the pan until the garlic has ever so slightly browned and it’s giving off a deep fragrance. We definitely want to avoid burning the garlic here.

Drain the chickpeas with a sieve, keeping the liquid. This aquafaba stuff is kind of magical. Set aside the liquid and rinse the chickpeas under cold running water until they’ve lost their sliminess.

In a small separate bowl, add 2 lemons worth of the juice to all of the tahini and mix thoroughly. If the mixture starts to go thick and lumpy, add a little of that magical chickpea water to smooth it out. Keep mixing until you have an emulsion.

Add the tahini and lemon mixture to your blender (or large bowl if using a stick blender), along with the chickpeas and the cumin powder. Do a whizz.

People have different preferences when it comes to houmous consistency – a short whizz at this stage and adding a tiny bit of olive oil whilst it’s whizzing will give you chunky houmous like your favourite enormous chain of supermarkets’ own brand. Whizzing for longer and adding more olive oil will give you velvety smooth houmous like the supermarket own brand’s next-door neighbour on the shelves, Sabra.

Check for salt and citrus levels whilst you can still give everything a whizz. I prefer my houmous citrusy to cut through that garlic, oil and creaminess, so I’d probably be adding the 3rd lemon’s juice here.

Scrape your houmous into a bowl and top with any / all / none of the usual suspects: olive oil, zaatar, toasted pine nuts, ribbons of roasted red pepper, roasted chickpeas, you get the idea.

Serve with basic bread.