Whether you mix in flavorings or top it with other ingredients, hummus is a blank canvas with so many delicious ways of eating it. This time, I gave it a South Asian twist. Adding curry powder to the hummus gives it more flavor, but the real magic here is in the olive oil which has been tempered with caramelized onions, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds. The oil is ridiculously fragrant and adds a creamy richness to the hummus, while the onions and spices add some contrasting crunch and complementary sweetness to the ultra smooth chickpeas.
The trick to making an ultra-smooth hummus is two-fold. The first is to make sure you start with very soft chickpeas. Usually when cooking legumes you don’t want to cook them so long they lose their shape, but in the case of hummus, this is a good thing. For canned chickpeas, some brands tend to be softer than others, so you may want to buy a few and figure out which one works best (the firmer ones are great in salads).
The second trick is brute force. I use a Vitamix, which has blades that spin so fast, they pulverize even the toughest of chickpeas into a smooth creamy dip. If your blender or food processor doesn’t have superhuman speed, you can compensate for it by using very soft chickpeas. I’ve used canned chickpeas for this recipe to save time, but if you want to learn how to make a hummus from dried chickpeas, check out my basic hummus recipe.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.75 ounces (50 grams, ~1/4 onion) onions, finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 can (15 ounce) cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 cup soaking liquid from the chickpeas (+ more if needed)
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 small clove (.07 ounces) garlic
- minced parsley, for garnish
- Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the minced onions to a small frying pan and fry the onions over low heat, stirring occasionally until they are light brown. Add the cumin, mustard seeds and fennel seeds and continue frying until the onions are golden brown and the spices are fragrant. Quickly remove the pan from the heat and set it somewhere to let the oil cool.
- Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid to make the hummus.
- Add the drained chickpeas along with 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid, the tahini, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and the garlic to a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Use a tamper to help keep the hummus moving in the blender. If your blender has trouble spinning you can add a few more tablespoons of liquid.
- Taste the hummus and adjust the amount of salt and lemon juice to taste. When you're satisfied with the taste, scoop the hummus out into a shallow bowl and use the back of a spoon to make a swirl pattern on the top surface.
- Drizzle the oil and spice mixture into the swirls in the hummus and garnish with minced parsley. Serve with warm pita bread.
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.