Cooking from Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel, by Alon Shaya with Tina Antolini, we discovered a new technique for making the smoothest hummus.

By Ananda Eidelstein
March 07, 2018
Rush Jagoe

I love silky hummus and I've tried all the tricks, even painstakingly peeled all of my chickpeas, in an effort to get the smooth hummus I love. Those translucent skins that come off the chickpeas drive me nuts, and I am convinced that it prevents hummus from being the soft spread it should be. But then recently, I was flipping through Shaya, a cookbook by Alon Shaya and in it, I came across a brilliant recipe with the most interesting technique to getting rid of those pesky little skins. Shaya figured out a shortcut to the smoothest hummus ever. And you don't even have to soak your own. 

There are too many vibrant dishes to count in Shaya. There's the Fried Eggplant with Caramelized Tomato and Goat Cheese, and Everything Borekas made with buttery flaky dough and stuffed with feta cheese. Even the simplicity of his Good Turkey Sandwich will give you all the heart eyes. But when I landed on Shaya's Shortcut Hummus I had to give it a go. Here's how he makes it: 

Shortcut Hummus

Makes about 1 quart

Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas


1 ½ quarts plus 6 tablespoons water, divided, plus more as needed


2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving


¼ cup canola oil

2 tablespoons raw tahini

1 ½ teaspoons Morton kosher salt


¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1.         Drain the chickpeas, and rinse them well. Gently—since they’re already soft—massage them in your hands to loosen the skins so that they slip off in cooking. 


2.         Add the chickpeas (skins and all) to a pot with 1 1⁄2 quarts water. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. With a slotted spoon or small sieve, periodically skim away any of the skins that have floated to the top over the course of 10 or 15 minutes. If you’d like to track your progress, reserve the skins in a measuring cup, aiming to have about 3⁄4 cup of skins by the time you purée the beans. The more time you take here, the smoother the results will be. 


3.         Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice and garlic, and let them steep for at least 30 minutes. Fish out the garlic before proceeding.

4.         Drain the chickpeas, and combine them in a food processor with the garlic-infused lemon juice, 6 tablespoons water, olive oil, canola oil, tahini, salt, and cumin. Process for at least 5 minutes, until the hummus is very smooth and light. If you find that it’s still thick and grainy, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, with the processor running, until it 
smooths itself into the consistency of buttercream frosting. 


5.         Serve at room temperature, drizzled with more olive oil if you like.

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I found the more time you take massaging the skins from the chickpeas, the better your final result. In addition, simmer your chickpeas in a generous amount of water: it's easier to skim the skins off the top when you have more clearance. 

Brilliant. The end result was truly incredibly smooth hummus. Although, if you prefer hummus on the thick side (yet still smooth as silk), start by adding just 3 tablespoons water when mixing all the ingredients in the food processor. Gradually add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until your desired consistency is reached.

Shaya recommends topping the hummus with parsley, paprika, and olive oil but it's pretty perfect right off of a spoon. 

Excerpted from SHAYA by Alon Shaya. Copyright © 2018 by Alon Shaya. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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