The Quest for the Perfect Homemade Hummus is Complete

My reputation, though, may never be the same.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My hummus. If you look closely, you'll notice that there are no chickpea skins in it. My hummus. If you look closely, you'll notice that there are no chickpea skins in it. (Amy Eddings/WNYC)

Some people can boast of surviving the complex requirements of Julia Child's pate de canard en croute

I haven't de-boned a duck, but I have peeled three cups of chickpeas — by hand — for Melissa Clark's "Stupendous Hummus" recipe.  And the results were, well, stupendous.

"It's so smooth!" said WNYC culture editor Abbie Fentress-Swanson.

"This is really exceptional," said WNYC Transportation Nation editor Andrea Bernstein.

"It'd better be," I muttered, under my breath. The recipe took the better part of two days to complete, from the time I put the dried chickpeas in a pot of cold water to soak overnight, to the 45 minutes spent simmering them on the stove the following morning with a bay leaf and three cloves of garlic, to the hour I spend fiddling with each little pea later that evening, pulling off their clear, chewy, tiny skins. 

I Tweeted about my quest, and wrote about it on Facebook.

My husband's best buddy, Larry Kellogg, wrote back, "Peeling chickpeas??? Mark, YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP AND ENTERTAIN AMY!!!"

Larry's a lawyer, and not one to use triple exclamation marks.

Pal and blogger Brenda Becker wrote, in her best Mae West voice, "Beulah, peel me a chickpea."

WQXR colleague Kerry Nolan -- an accomplished cook herself, with as many condiments in her refrigerator as I have, or had, chickpeas -- left a terse comment: "Food mill. Look into it." She added a smiley face emoticon.

People, I was NOT smiling when I realized I had almost ruined this recipe with too much salt. I HAD JUST INVESTED MOST OF MY OFF-MIC HOURS IN THIS PROJECT. My right thumb joint hurts (it's already overused from too much texting). My forearm is throbbing. This hummus needs to be edible!

I punted, adding more olive oil, more garlic, a bit more tahini, more cumin. Finally, this morning, I deemed it Just Right.

Now, if only my friends and colleagues would say the same about my state of mind.


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Comments [1]


Next time you want to peel chickpeas, take the cooked chick peas when cool enough to handle. Put some in a clean tea towel and gather up the edges of the towel to keep all the beans contained. Then roll the towel around on a counter so the chick peas will rub against each other and, in the process, rub the skins off each other. Most of the skins will stick to the towel. Rinse the beans to remove the rest.

Sep. 23 2011 11:06 AM

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