How Not to Make Hummus: Ricer Edition
By Tom // Posted 18 January, 2009 in: Technique
I like the hummus recipe in Cook’s Illustrated’s The New Best Recipe. It is simple; a drained can of chickpeas, two tablespoons of lemon juice, a quarter cup each of olive oil, tahini and water, a teaspoon of salt and a dash of cayenne and a clove or two of garlic all go in the food processor–thirty seconds later you have creamy hummus.
Given that I was perfectly happy with this recipe I naturally had to try a new technique. Sure, the food processor hummus was creamy after being chopped up at high speed for a while, but couldn’t I make it creamier by eliminating those pesky bean skins, leaving nothing but velvety cotyledon? But how to get rid of the skins, short of shucking each bean by hand? A ricer! It works for potatoes, right? Plus, no need to cleanup all those food processor parts! And so I popped open a can of chickpeas and in short order had this mess on my hands:
The first thing I discovered on this fool’s journey is that human beings of normal strength cannot rice a whole can of chickpeas at once. After removing half the beans I was able to make some progress: slow, maddeningly slow, progress. I could get about one good squeeze out of the beans before the device would seize up, forcing me to scrape my meager bean squeezings off the sides and then redistribute the mash within the ricer so that I could repeat the whole process thirty seconds later. After the third or fourth time doing this I knew it was not worth it. But I’m no quitter either. After probably 20 minutes I had extracted all the bean I was going to.
A lot of work to be sure, but worth it for skinless, really creamy hummus, right? I stirred in the rest of the ingredients and gave the hummus a taste. This was the grainiest hummus I have ever tasted. Beating it with a whisk (whipping it into shape?) helped a bit but my feeble human hands could not give the hummus the airiness that the machine can achieve. Incidentally, a ricer clogged with bean refuse is much harder to clean than a food processor.
Lesson from all this: when something is working you should leave well enough alone. At least until I get my hands on a food mill…
4 comments | chickpeas, failure, hummus, middle east, ricer
This entry was posted by Tom on Sunday, January 18th, 2009 at 9:25 am and is filed under Technique. You can subscribe to responses to this entry via RSS.
Ha! Great. I was thinking “I wonder if I could…” Nipped that folly right in the bud! Thanks. Though I kinda wonder, do those skins hold a lot of the fiber?
thanks for posting this…i am planning to try the same thing, hoping that cooking the peas from scratch (i.e. softer than canned peas) will make it work. Thanks also for the recipe – i have only recently begun adding oil to my hummus recipe. Not sure I’ll ever get to 1/4 cup habitually, but might try yours just for fun!
Another way is to saute the can of beans in some baking soda. Then you can pour cold water over the beans and rub a bunch with your hands to shuck a bunch. Rinse with cold water a coulple of times and the hulls will separate and float away
Did you try using the ricer after skinning the chickpeas?
Not sure how you prepared the chickpeas, but you mentioned a can. After straining the chickpeas, lay flats on an a kitchen towel and fold over to dry. Maintain the mad a single level, and go over them crushing them with a rolling pin. After thoroughly crushing, simply place in a pot of water turn on the heat and allow the skins to rise.
Not sure how that would work with a ricer, but that’s why I was here lol. Trying to make mine falafel creamier. Don’t have a great food processor. :-/