I love hummus and when I set out to make it at home, I figured it was going to be easy (there's only like 5 ingredients after all!). The first few batches I made used canned beans with a few cloves of roasted garlic. It was okay, but it wasn't has smooth or as flavorful as hummus I had elsewhere. After a bit of research, I found the secret ingredients to really smooth hummus: dried beans & baking soda. Yep, baking soda. And to make it extra flavorful? Blending whole cloves of garlic (yes, skins and all!) with lemon juice.
Ultimately, hummus is easy to do at home, but really good hummus is a bit of lengthy affair. Once you've had it homemade with dried beans (instead of canned!) you're not going back.
1/2 pound dried chickpeas (about 1 big cup)
2 teaspoons baking soda, divided
1 small onion, sliced in half
1 small stalk celery
1 small carrot
2 medium cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 whole head garlic, broken into individual unpeeled cloves
2/3 cup fresh juice from 3 to 4 lemons
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 generous cup tahini paste
Combine beans, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 2 tablespoons salt in a large bowl and cover with 6 cups cold water. Stir to dissolve salt and baking soda. Let stand at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse beans thoroughly.
Place beans in a large pot. Add remaining 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon salt, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and bay leaves. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover with lid slightly cracked, and cook until beans are completely tender, to the point of falling apart, about 2 hours. Make sure the beans are completely submerged at all times, so add additional water if necessary.
While the beans are cooking, combine garlic (skins and all! this sounds weird but trust me, it's good!) and lemon juice in a blender. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Press out as much liquid as you can with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula, then discard solids. Add cumin and tahini paste to lemon/garlic juice and whisk to combine. The mixture will seize up and turn pasty. Add water a few tablespoons at a time, whisking in between each addition, until a smooth, light sauce is formed. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.
Discard onion, celery, and bay leaves. Transfer chickpeas, carrot, and garlic to a food processor, with enough cooking liquid to barely cover them. If the mixture becomes too thick to blend, add cooking liquid until it has the texture of a very thick milkshake. Continue blending until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.
Transfer hot chickpea mixture to a large bowl. Whisk in tahini sauce. Whisk in salt to taste. Transfer to a sealed container and allow to cool to room temperature. It should thicken up until it can hold its shape when spooned onto a plate.
Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Serve hummus on a wide, shallow plate, drizzled with olive oil and your choice of toppings.