The (re)turn to analog has taken the food, music, art, and culture scene by storm. The massive popularity of analog synthesizers in electronic music has its, well, analog, in cooking as well, with artisanal edibles, the turn to canning, the move to slow cooking, etc. The movement has its critics—it can be elitist, bourgeois, and obnoxious. These things bother me as well, along with the fact that the basic contradiction that DIY, back-to-basics, Etsy things cost a fortune and ultimately rest on increased consumption. (This is, of course, nothing new, and speaks to the way capitalism hungrily incorporates its own critiques. See the history of punk). At the same time, the base impulse—the desire to return to simplicity, freshness, and homemade things—seems not entirely unworthy.
I’ve been reluctant to make hummus from scratch (i.e. the analog way), probably because, like you, I tried it a few times and it came out grainy, thick, and weirdly colored, and because its not atrociously expensive at the grocery store and is of passable (not great) quality, and because the only decent recipe I found called for removing the skins of individual chickpeas one by one and the thought of that made me want to put my eyes out. Thus, there is much in the ‘against making hummus at home, from scratch,’ column. I understand.
However, after impulsively buying a 5-kilo bag of chickpeas from the Indian store, I decided, with trepidation, to rethink my approach and to go for it. I found a recipe that was definitely analog by my standards, requiring 12 hours of foresight (the chickpeas have to be soaked overnight or all day), which is not usually how my cooking happens temporally speaking. However, the recipe saved me from shelling individual chickpea heads and for that, I was already grateful. That is, until I scooped up the luscious, creamy deliciousness that is—and can be—hummus. I couldn’t stop licking the spoon I used to scoop this up with. This is so, so, so good. A revelation.
YOTAM OTTOLENGHI AND SAMI TAMIMI’S BASIC HUMMUS
Prep time: 12 hours+
1 ¼ cup dried chickpeas
1 tsp. baking soda
6 ½ cups water
1 cup tahini
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
6 ½ tablespoons ice cold water
Good quality olive oil, to serve (optional)
Zatar, as garnish (optional)
- The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
- The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
- Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine sill running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to mix for about five minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
- Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Optionally, to serve, top with a layer of good quality olive oil. This hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.