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We all love a bowl of houmous for dipping, spreading or adding to a mezze bowl during summer, but this houmous is like no other. Creamy, rich and lightly spiced, the end results of this are truly worth it. Serve with warm flatbreads for mopping up. See method
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Rinse the chickpeas and put in a large bowl. Cover generously with water (at least double the volume), then cover with a clean tea towel and leave to soak for at least 8 hrs (or up to 24 hrs). It’s important to soak the chickpeas first to help them cook more evenly. If pushed for time, use 2 tins of cooked chickpeas. Add to a pan with their liquid plus 2 tins of water, the bicarbonate of soda, salt and cumin. Simmer, covered, for 10-15 mins until very tender. Continue from step 4.
Drain the chickpeas and tip into a large, lidded saucepan set over a medium-high heat. Stir through the bicarb, then cook for 2 mins, stirring occasionally. Adding bicarbonate of soda makes the water more alkaline, which helps break down pectin in the chickpeas, loosening the skins for creamier results. Covering during cooking makes a pressurised environment and helps the chickpeas cook more quickly. Older dried chickpeas can take longer to soften. Pour over 1ltr cold water, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium- low; simmer for 30 mins or until the chickpeas are beginning to soften (test by crushing with the back of a spoon), uncovering occasionally to skim off any scum or loose skins.
Add the salt, cover and cook for a further 15-20 mins until very tender and creamy. Test the same way as before. Continue to occasionally skim any scum or skins from the top (but don’t worry about every last piece of skin).
Use a slotted spoon to transfer 80g chickpeas to a small bowl. Cover with cold water, stir, then carefully pour off most of the water, allowing any skin or cloudy cooking water to drain off, keeping the tender whole chickpeas in the bowl. Repeat 2-3 times until clean and skin-free; set aside.
Transfer the remaining chickpeas to the bowl of a food processor or blender using a slotted spoon. Add the cumin, tahini, garlic and the juice of 2 lemons, and blend to a thick paste. Put 2-3 ice cubes in a jug and add enough water to make up to 100ml (including the ice). Gradually add this to the blender, whizzing in between additions. Adding iced water helps aerate the houmous, while the quick temperature change also emulsifies the fat for a silkier finish. You’re looking for a texture similar to crème fraîche or soft whipped cream. Err on the softer side, as the houmous will continue to thicken as it cools.
Taste and blitz in a little more lemon juice, water and salt, as needed. Keep blending for 1-4 mins until you have a silky smooth, slightly tart houmous. Cover with clingfilm so it touches the surface of the houmous, then set aside at room temperature for 30 mins before serving. Houmous is best served at room temperature – if making ahead, remove the amount you want from the fridge at least 30 mins before serving and cover. It’s classically served with warm flatbreads, but seasonal crudites, such as radishes or baby carrots, pair well too.
Transfer to a wide, shallow serving bowl and use the back of a spoon to create a well in the centre. Top with the reserved chickpeas and serve with warm flatbreads for dipping, if you like. Will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Cook's tip: No food processor? No problem – a handheld stick blender will work just as well.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.
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