ummus gets its name from the Arabic word for “chickpea”, and traditionally it contains just chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic; olive oil is used only to finish it off on the plate. Other versions, based mainly on olive oil and containing anything from beetroot to avocado, I’ve always rejected as phoney imposters, but after making today’s three wonderful chickpea spreads with not so much as a gram of tahini among them, I couldn’t help but call them anything other than, well, “hummus”.
Basic cooked chickpeas
This yields enough cooked chickpeas to make two of today’s other dishes. I like the idea of having two contrasting hummus dishes in one meal, but not everyone will share that sentiment. Luckily, cooked chickpeas freeze very well; just defrost them and bring back up to room temperature before using. I say to cook the chickpeas for 45 minutes, but it can take substantially longer, depending on variety and freshness, so cook them until they’re completely soft.
Prep 5 min
Cook 45 min
250g dried chickpeas
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Start the day ahead by soaking the chickpeas overnight in plenty of cold water and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Drain and refresh, then put in a large pot with 1.8 litres of water and half a teaspoon more of bicarb. Bring to a boil on a medium-high heat, lower the heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes. Add a teaspoon of salt and cook for 15 minutes more, until the chickpeas are very soft when squashed between your fingers, but still hold their shape, then drain.