Plain houmous using dried chick peas

I bought a bag of dried chick peas ages ago, meaning to use them for something, and promptly forgot about them once I’d put them in the cupboard. That happens a lot in my house. Out of sight, out of mind and all that.

I found them yesterday, so decided to actually remember to soak some overnight, and give houmous a try using them. Just to see what difference it makes to the texture and the taste.

Now, I know you can buy this anywhere, but shop bought houmous has become a disappointment to me, if I’m honest. It’s now too pungent, and I find that I cannot get the taste to go away for ages. The only brand that doesn’t do that to me is Sabra, usually to be found in the Kosher section. That is consistently lovely.

The rest of them taste quite artificial to me, so when I found that my carrot houmous lasted nearly a week without spoiling, I thought I’d make more. Not quite such a volume of it this time though. Even I can get tired of houmous.

The joy of this is that you can adjust everything to the way you like it. Leave out the salt (though I’m not sure I would like it that way), add more tahini, more lemon, whatever you think makes it taste how you want it.

200g (pre-soaked weight) dried chick peas

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2-4 tbs tahini

juice of 1 – 2 lemons

1/2 – 1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic salt (you can use fresh if you want, but this makes it more work lunch friendly)

Cover the chick peas with water in a large pan. Leave overnight.

Soaking chickpeas

The next day, once you have drained the chickpeas, put them back into the pan and cover with cold water to at least double their depth. DO NOT ADD SALT.

Add the 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda into the water and stir.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 1 hour. You might get some foam on the top, I just skimmed that off. It’s nothing to worry about. Top up with boiling water if the water looks to be too low.

Test one to see if it’s soft.

If they are tender, then drain them, saving the simmering liquid, and leave them to cool. I found that the cooking liquid started to gel, which took me by surprise.

Soaked and simmered chickpeas

Put the peas into a food processor. Add in 2 tbs tahini and the juice of half a lemon to start, plus 1/2 tsp garlic salt, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Give it a whizz, and add some of the cooking liquid if it’s too thick.

Taste, adjust the tahini/lemon/salt/garlic salt.

I ended up with 4 tbs tahini, the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and 1 tsp salt. I could probably have added more lemon.

Tub full

Served with extra virgin olive oil, and topped with an Essex olive from my own tree!

Served with an olive

It has a much creamier flavour than using tinned chick peas. I think that if I’d kept on blending and added more tahini, it would have gone to an even more silky paste, but I like it with a little bit of bite.

It might last until Monday. If I run out of breadsticks. (It should keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.)

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