Homemade Houmous

  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 2
  • Level: medium

‘…you can just make up a bowl for one and sit in front of the telly with some fresh hot pitas bread.’

Leo Williamson
'There's shop-bought houmous and there's houmous that actually tastes like houmous... If you haven't made your own this is a great way to taste the difference. Perfect for entertaining or...'

What you need

1 tin of chickpeas – reserve the liquid

1/2 clove of garlic grated

2 tbs tahini

2 tbs olive oil

Lemon

Salt and pepper

 



Dad's Recipe Tales

When I was at school, the only way could eat houmous was either by going to Greece on holiday, or visiting a Greek restaurant; especially the riotous Greek tavernas on Charlotte Street.

We invariably ordered a full meze. But why did we keep repeating the same mistake? By the time the kleftiko arrived we were completely stuffed. I believe the cause of this recurring pattern of over-eating was the starters: houmous, tzatziki, taramasalata and endless stacks of hot pitta breads. All delicious and very moreish… too moreish.

Times have changed. Now commonplace, it’s difficult to imagine the fascination and intrigue we once held for these exotic purees.

But why make houmous? It is not very expensive to buy, it comes in conveniently sized tubs, and always has a very satisfying taste.

The reason is because everybody should make houmous at least once – just to understand how food works.

NB: When it comes to houmous; the supermarket scientists in their laboratories have a lot to answer for: it is impossible to recreate the exact texture and taste of the store bought houmous at home. This is a fact – do not even try to break the code – it won’t happen. Indeed, the manufactured paste is so different from the authentic version that it might almost be another product. But please do not let this put you off. Whatever the manufactures tempt us with – homemade will always be best.

 

How Dad Cooked It

One can soak and cook dried chickpeas, but for houmous, life is too short. Use a tin.

  1. Drain the chickpeas and reserve the liquid. Simon Hopkinson suggest putting these into a tea towel and rubbing to remove the skins. My feeling is that this may also come into the category of tasks to avoid due to life being too short.
  2. Put the chickpeas into a processor (a blender is tricky as the blades will struggle with the thicker texture required).
  3. Add tahini, olive oil, the juice from half a lemon, grated garlic, a good pinch of salt and pepper. Blitz until mixed.
  4. Taste. Now adjust, adding more garlic, tahini, lemon and olive oil until the texture and taste is right. Add some the chickpea liquid to thin if necessary. I prefer a slightly rougher texture. Remember it will not taste as it does from the store – so find a balance to your liking. It improves if left for a day in the fridge.
  5. Serve the houmous like they do in Tavernas: with a sprinkle of paprika, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of chopped parsley and a couple black olives – and endless stacks of hot pitta bread.

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