Thursday 10 February 2011

Back to Basics - Houmous

I debated whether to post this at all, not that it's not good, it's fantastic and I no longer buy houmous it's so good. Rather I find that people are very particular about their houmous and this one is very particular to me. I have tried making my own houmous so many times and have never been happy with it. It's either bland or too bitter, too much tahini, not smooth enough etc. The first time I tried this it was almost spot on perfect except for one strange flavour, I kept blaming the tahini and tried to adjust that but then realized it was the olive oil. Yes, I know it's traditionally what is used in houmous but I found the flavour too strong and unique here. I then thought I would check the ingredients in what has always been my favourite houmous - tesco's own label regular houmous (for real!) and yes, no olive oil - they just use vegetable oil.

So, I tried it again with vegetable oil and ... perfection! Well, for me, and my husband who concurs this is the best houmous he's had. It's very much like tesco's but with more flavour, like a pimped up version. I even tried to recreate their quantity of chickpeas vs tahini by percentage. Commitment. I also do one thing which is a bit of a time consuming hassle but worth it. I peel the chickpeas - yes, all of them. I think it makes for a smoother less bitter houmous. And of course, you can always replace the vegetable oil with olive oil here if it just seems sacrilegious to you without it ;-) I also wanted to keep the calories down in this but if you don't care about that and want an even creamier houmous you can double the oil and reduce the water to 1 Tbsp.

Note: I don't always peel, I only do this when the tinned chickpeas skins are already falling off when you wash them. Sometimes tins of chickpeas are smaller with tighter skins - I don't bother then.

200g drained, rinsed and peeled chickpeas (One 400g tin drained and rinsed)
50g tahini
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic - smallish, pureed
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp water

Add everything but the oil and water to a food processor. Process until well mixed, stop a couple times to clean down the sides. Then while the processor is running on low add the oil, again stop a couple times to clean the sides. Again, with processor running slowly add the water. Increase speed till high and process until super creamy. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate. As it sits it may get thicker, I then add a few more drops water and beat well to get the creaminess back.

2012 Edit:  I have been making this all the time but the worst thing has happened. I appear to have developed an intolerance to chickpeas! Not to get into the details but through process of elimination they seem to be the culprits. As I couldn't imagine a life without houmous I made this using a tin of haricot (navy) beans and it turned out delicious! I really had trouble telling the difference and I had no reaction to it, you have no idea how happy this makes me :-)

I also made this with the Cannellini beans - the more traditional chickpea replacement in houmous and it was equally delicious. So if you have issues with chickpeas too or simply don't like them, this is a great alternative:

White Bean Houmous:

1 x 400g tin of haricot OR Cannellini beans, drained & rinsed. About 200-225g drained weight.
50g tahini
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt  (use less if your tinned beans are in salted water)
1 clove garlic, pureed
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp water - optional, you may only need it if the houmous needs to be creamier.

Add everything but the oil to a food processor and process until creamy, then add the oil and process until super smooth and creamy. Add water if need be.

Nutritional Information: per 100g (chickpea version)
Calories: 232
Fat: 17.6g
Sat Fat: 1.8g
Protein: 6.8g
Fibre: 3.1g
Carbs: 13.5g
Sugar: 0.4g
Sodium: 515mg
Calcium: 41.7mg

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  1. Silly question, but how do you peel the chickpeas?

    I'm thinking of trying to make tempeh with chickpeas instead of soy beans, but I'm a little worried about how much effort peeling the peas will be as it's a killer with soy beans.

  2. I don't know how it is with soy beans but with tinned chickpeas they just slide off really. To speed it up I'll put them between dry dish towels and rub back and forth - most just slide off the rest I just squeeze off. I do have a lot of free time though! :-)

    Can you believe I've still never tried tempeh?

  3. Thank you, that sounds a lot easier. I would take me up to an hour to dehull enough soybeans to make a good sized block of tempeh.

    If you get the chance to try tempeh that's really, really fresh then go for it. I've only found it in shops twice, and to be honest it's not very nice if it's not very fresh. It has a sort of 'old biscuit tin' flavour to it after a little while.

  4. Woah, that's commitment! Thanks for the tip too, the local health shop in Cork city sells some frozen, might be my only chance. Although an omni restaurant here do a vegan salad with 'crispy tempeh' on top - will hopefully try that soon.

  5. thanks so much for the recipe!I have been using peanut butter rather than tahini and works well. Up until I read this post I was buying at least 2 tesco tubs houmous a week- not any more! its lovely

  6. So glad you like it! Cheers for the comment :-)

  7. I've never heard of peeling the chickpeas. I just whirl it all up together. It's probably not as smooth that way, but it probably has more fiber. :) The dish towel idea is great...I'll have to try that, especially if I'm making it to share. Your blog is great. I LOVE your recipes. Having so much fun making delicious food! Thanks, Mariella from Alaska

  8. Thanks so much Mariella! Glad you like the blog :-) As for the chickpeas here, there is certainly no need to peel them, just one of those crazy things I do!! If I'm in a rush or need some houmous stat I don't bother either :-D


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