Today I made hummus without a food processor or blender because I still don’t have one here in Turkey. I had been holding out making it even though I can easily get dried chickpeas anywhere and they’re super inexpensive.
I was just so hesitant to make it because I knew it wouldn’t come out perfectly smooth the way I’m used to it back in the States. Who would want to eat a lumpy hummus?
Over the summer I had it in a touristy restaurant nearby and it was so tasteless I couldn’t finish eating it (thinking it was due to the texture) but now I realize it was because they didn’t really add any flavor to it.
Fast forward to yesterday when I was watching a few wonderful episodes of Rick Stein’s BBC travel shows in the Mediterranean where he visited Spain, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Greece, Morocco, Turkey (not all in one episode)- basically circling the Mediterranean and all the places I just love so much. When I really love food shows, I usually take something from the show and go into the kitchen and experiment with it because I almost always have the same ingredients around all the time.
In one of the episodes (I can’t recall which one), he showed a restaurant chef making hummus without any sort of food processor or blender, just a mortar and large bowl. He started with the garlic, pressing all the cloves firmly with the pestle, then added in the chickpeas and tahini. When it was ready to be plated, the toppings were superbly generous- and that’s what really made it finished- at least to my eyes.
Make no mistake, I love creamy, smooth hummus but I decided to go ahead and make it anyway with a potato masher and of course all the same ingredients: chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, salt and lemon, 2 cloves garlic. On top I added sumac, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and fresh parsley for all that color and flavor (*product suggestions listed at the end of this post).
The result was a really different but nice, rustic texture than what I’m used to, but definitely a dish I can now appreciate. The ingredients added are important, and the generous sprinkling of toppings are also equally important for aesthetics and taste. I can’t stress the generosity of olive oil and the other colorful stuff enough- that’s what makes it more appealing to those you serve it to, as well.
Sometimes you’ve gotta just work with what you’ve got to achieve the end goal- something you crave, just maybe a slightly different style of it.
For the recipe, nothing was strictly measured, but here are some rough estimates (don’t worry, you will actually make this recipe more by taste than anything else). Afiyet Olsun…
- Approximately 2 cups chickpeas, cooked until very soft
- 1-2 tablespoons good quality tahini
- 2-5 cloves garlic (depending how garlicky you like your hummus- just be warned that if you do not eat it all in a day, then the garlic flavor will intensify after it sits in there a while so go easy on it if you plan on doing this ahead of time)
- Really good olive oil
- Sea salt
- Fresh lemon juice (no bottled stuff)
- Sumac, for topping
- Parsley, for topping
- Red pepper flakes, for topping
- Extra olive oil for topping
- This recipe does not utilize a blender, but you could certainly use that instead of a potato masher, which is what I use to make this dish. If you want the same texture as what I'm after in this recipe, then you would not blend the chickpeas for very long. Instead, simply blend until you see the texture in the recipe photo and stop.
- Using a potato masher, mash up the chickpeas really well. Even so, you will not achieve a perfectly smooth texture (which is the point of this whole recipe).
- *Please note: I do not add ground cumin to my hummus, but I have seen it added to the top of hummus in Turkey; I've also been told that it's mixed into the hummus there, but I was never taught to make it that way. Personally, I prefer a tad bit on top, but not too much.
- Add the tahini, one tablespoon at a time. Next, add some olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt - all to your own tastes.
- Plate up the hummus and add a generous amount of sumac, parsley and a little more olive oil (or a lot) on top. Serve with some rustic bread and dig right into it.