A few weeks ago, we had a small bbq. I made hummus. But I didn’t make just any hummus, I made Smitten Kitchen’s Ethereally Smooth Hummus. It was pretty good. In fact, I got a lot of compliments on it when I have never had hummus-related compliments before. That got me to wondering… if the defining characteristic of the hummus – the time consuming part, of course is what makes it great, or the rest of the recipe is. You see, Ethereally Smooth Hummus’ shtick is that all of the hulls are removed from the chickpeas before you blend up the hummus. Deb proclaims that it took her 10 minutes to pop a can’s worth of chickpeas out of their hulls. I doubled the recipe (we can eat a lot of hummus!) and it took me nearly 2 hours. Of course, I was camped out on the sofa and watching TV while I did it, so it wasn’t really that much of a bother, but it was markedly more time than one playing of Inna Gadda Da Vida. Regardless, I was supposing to Ivana that it would be interesting to see if the marked difference was the composition of the recipe, or the removal of the husks. So began The Great Hummus Showdown®.
Please excuse these photos. They were taken with a cell phone in bad lighting at a friend’s house(yes, I took a container of chickpeas with me to peel at a friend’s house. What?).
I wanted this to be as fair as possible, so I used the same batch of dried beans, the same jar of tahini, the same head of garlic, and squeezed all of my lemons in to one container so that their juice would mix. I am pretty serious.
I just wanted to show you the strange thing that happens to peeled chickpeas when you grind them…. The turn into the texture of brown sugar. Unpeeled chickpeas are similar to a natural peanut butter, but the peeled ones get powdery.
Then I didn’t take any more photos. That’s how I roll. Regardless, I made both batches identically. Then I made a batch of pitas, and brought it all to work.
Then I did a blind taste test and asked everyone which was superior. Most people paused, or retasted. When pushed, all but one said that the peeled chickpea hummus was better. Many of them, without prompting, also said that if it was any more effort, they’d definitely go for the other one though, because they were that close. So there you go. I will not be peeling chickpeas anymore. There really was an almost imperceptible difference – definitely not the time expenditure, at least in my experience.