Tahini 80
November 15, 2010 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Houmous making. Either I get the right flavour and it sticks together like Play-Doh, or it's the perfect dipping/spreading consistency yet tastes of water. What am I doing wrong? Any recipes based on a standard size can of chickpeas?

For reference - commercial houmouses I like are Yarden, Sainsbury's and Tesco's. I like it fairly mealy and chunky, and the Sainsbury's low fat seems lighter on tahini. But I can't work out what proportins I need to be using.
posted by mippy to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
1 can of chickpeas, 1/3 cup of tahini, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

1. Put the tahini, lemon juice, and garlic in your food processor. I've tried to make hummus without a food processor; for me, it just doesn't work.
2. WHIZ! The mixture should change consistency a bit.
3. Drain your chickpeas; add 'em to the food processor.
4. WHIZ!
5. Check the flavor and consistency. It will need salt, and most likely oil/water. I add the liquids by tablespoons until it seems right; however, I like my hummus ultra smooth.

What you could do is waste a batch to figure out how much water and oil you need to add, and then add this when you add the chickpeas, before processing it to the consistency you like.

What recipe are you using now?
posted by punchtothehead at 8:48 AM on November 15, 2010

I only ever go by taste, so I don't have an actual recipe to share, but it sounds to me like you're not using enough olive oil. I have no idea why you would be tasting water. You're draining your chickpeas, right?
posted by Gilbert at 8:51 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh! I should have pointed out my current methods.

- Drain chickpeas

- Add garlic

- Add some tahini

- squeeze in half a lemon

Blend it with a hand blender (don't have a processor).
posted by mippy at 8:52 AM on November 15, 2010

You need oil. When it's too thin, how is that happening? Are you adding water?
posted by something something at 8:58 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

You are missing olive oil and salt. I also think it's improved with a teeny smidge of cumin.

Also, remember that hummus is really flexible (which is why there are so many flavours of it in the supermarket.) It won't hurt for you to add more of each if you taste it and it's not up to snuff. (For example, i like mine really lemony and garlicky, so i use the juice of about 1.5 lemons and about 4 cloves of garlic.)
posted by Kololo at 8:59 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, and this might help reconcile the differences between yours and the ones you buy: You say you like your hummus to be chunky. But 'real' hummous (as they make it in the middle east/israel) isn't chunky at all. Perhaps you're aiming for a texture that just doesn't 'work'?
posted by Kololo at 9:00 AM on November 15, 2010

I use the recipe from The New Moosewood Cookbook. The basic proportions are three cups cooked chickpeas (or two 15 oz cans, drained) to six tablespoons of tahini and six tablespoons of lemon juice. This produces a very thick hummus like you describe. I prefer mine smoother so once it is mixed up I drizzle in olive oil with the food processor running until I like the consistency. This step is not in the recipe but it works. Add garlic, herbs, salt, etc in whatever combinations you enjoy.
posted by horses, of courses at 9:01 AM on November 15, 2010

you need to add a little bit of olive oil while it is blending. that should help.
posted by sabh at 9:06 AM on November 15, 2010

Also, try adding Za'atar for very delicious flavor.
posted by orme at 9:08 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

nthing olive oil.

Protip: Don't use extra virgin olive oil if you use a blender, hand-blender or food processor. It turns bitter.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:09 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mix the tahini with water first.

Also, when you drain the chickpeas from the can, are you taking the skins off them? (which is what you want to do)

nthing olive oil, too. You need it.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:13 AM on November 15, 2010

I think the fact that you add no salt is part of the problem, there should be a smidgen at least. I like olive oil drizzled on top instead of in the recipe, but agree that there should be some in there. The only other thing I can think of to avoid a "watery" quality would be to cook your own chickpeas. It's not hard, and the flavor is more rich and nutty than canned.

What exactly is in the Tesco and Sainsbury hummus? One unofficial source I found had rapeseed oil (! cheap filler, in other words) as the second ingredient after chickpeas in Sainsbury's hummus. That would give it a very creamy mouthfeel, which may be why yours seems "watery". In which case olive oil mixed in as suggested above may get you closer to what you want. Plus it will taste better than Sainsbury's.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:16 AM on November 15, 2010

My tried-and-true recipe. Made this today, in fact:

- one can chickpeas (19oz, drained and rinsed)
- two cloves of garlic
- one half cup of olive oil
- one quarter cup lemon juice
- two tablespoons tahini

Fresh lemon juice is pretty important. Throw a bit of salt in there, and that's about it.
posted by danwalker at 9:19 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing that you need olive oil. A trick I use to get it smoother if I don't want to use too much oil is to add a dollop of yoghurt (greek or normal) - tastes great, lower calories and not watery (like if you add water).
posted by coraline at 9:28 AM on November 15, 2010

Yeah, you need more liquid. I use the liquid from the chickpea can rather than olive oil and it seems to taste pretty darn good. I don't add any salt and I add the tahini straight (no water). I only peel the chickpeas for special occasions.

I also don't use a food processor per se, but I do use a handy-chopper type mini-processor. They're fairly cheap, last awhile, and can make one can's worth of hummus just fine.
posted by rhizome at 9:35 AM on November 15, 2010

I haven't actually made houmous as such, but if you make tahinisalata as below (authentic recipe from Cyprus), just adding the chickpeas and olive oil to taste should do it:

240g jar of tahini
tsp salt
3/4 glass of water
8-9 tbs lemon juice
1-2 cloves of garlic
Chopped flat-leaf parlsey to garnish.

Salt and tahini in a bowl, then gradually add the water and lemon juice, whisking as you go. When it's the consistency of a thick batter, stir in crushed garlic and leave to set in the fridge.

Admittedly this is slightly off-topic, as it's not really houmous, but I've only just learnt to make this awesome taverna-quality dip having left Cyprus 15 years ago and you may find you prefer it to houmous.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 9:59 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Noticing the 'like it chunky' and others saying more processing is needed -- check out hummus masabacha (hummus, with whole chickpeas and oil and other flavourings). My homemade hummus is pretty meh no matter what fiddles I try, but masabacha-ing it up sorts it out nicely.
posted by kmennie at 10:16 AM on November 15, 2010

the Cook's Illustrated recipe (which is delicious) is as follows:
* 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
* 1/4 cup each of tahini, olive oil and water
* 1 to 2 cloves of garlic
* Juice of half a lemon
* Salt to taste

Process in the food processor until well combined and then refrigerate for awhile to let the flavors meld.

Always turns out flavorful and smooth/spreadable. This recipe is also pretty amendable for adding extra herbs or spices.
posted by mmascolino at 10:16 AM on November 15, 2010

Quantum's Deadly Fist has it. My hummus was just not quite right until I started with making "tahini cream" and then added the additional ingredients. This is the recipe I now use. I like mine very smooth and relatively fluid, but you could easily keep it a bit chunky.
posted by annaramma at 10:32 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I use olive oil, lemon juice, AND thin with water sometimes. Water only at the end, though, to correct texture.
posted by kestrel251 at 11:05 AM on November 15, 2010

The Paupered Chef did some hummus experiments recently.
posted by clockwork at 12:34 PM on November 15, 2010

salt, salt, salt, salt.
posted by JPD at 1:10 PM on November 15, 2010

Cumin! So good. And I agree about the salt and olive oil too.
posted by zahava at 5:14 PM on November 15, 2010

Houmous is a chickpea paste suspended in an emulsion of fat and water droplets. When your houmous fails it's because the emulsion collapsed, or never came together. It's a lot easier to increase the volume of an existing emulsion by adding ingredients than to start from scratch, and you're fortunate to be starting with an emulsion - the tahini!

Making houmous is a bit like making mayonnaise. Take your tahini and slowly mix the drained chickpeas into it. Drizzle a bit of oil and lemon juice in as you go. You'll develop a feel for the balance between the ingredients - too much liquid and it will start to become "thin"; too little oil and it will become mushy; too little water/lemon juice and it will be too stiff. You'll find it easier if you puree the chickpeas before you try mixing the ingredients.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:59 PM on November 15, 2010

This is absolute sacrilege to many, but my hummus recipe always comes together perfectly, and if you're accustomed to commercial hummus, the flavor is pretty much spot on.

Warning: no tahini.

1 15 oz. can chickpeas
1 6 oz. container Greek (strained) yogurt, plain
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt, pepper, cumin to taste
Olive oil to desired consistency

Combine all in a food processor.
posted by telegraph at 8:15 PM on November 15, 2010

And lemon juice!!! Ahh!! Sorry. Also lemon juice. I usually use the juice of half a lemon for the above amounts.
posted by telegraph at 8:16 PM on November 15, 2010

If it tastes of water, I think the problem is not enough salt. And yes, you should include olive oil.
posted by jocelmeow at 10:13 AM on November 16, 2010

Not enough salt is my first thought. Salt is a flavor increaser. Try getting the right consistency and upping the salt content.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 11:51 AM on November 17, 2010

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