Forget that sludgy beige-grey slop that passes itself off for hummus in the shops. Home-made hummus is infinitely better than any you can buy and it is elevated to spectacular heights when you use smoked chickpeas.
Hummus is one of my go-to dips (along with baba ghanoush) and I am delighted that my smoked hummus has been getting rave reviews whenever I have served it. I now make this smoked version more than any other hummus and I always make a large amount (the equivalent of 2 tins worth!) as it goes so quickly.
I always serve this hummus with a very generous drizzling of extra-virgin olive oil and then finished off either with some of the smoked chickpeas or chive flowers. A light dusting of smoked paprika is often a must for me! All it then needs are some flatbreads, carrot batons, celery sticks, even crisps(!) to dunk into the hummus.
It is, I think, important to note that this is not the slightly fake-tasting smoke flavour you get using liquid smoke; this is real smoke and with depth of flavour.
For ease and speed, the chickpeas can be used straight from the tins but for an even better flavour, use dried chickpeas – which need soaking and then cooking.
An indoor smoker
My indoor smoker is one of my favourite pieces of kitchen equipment which I use several times a week. It takes moments to set up and it just smokes away gently on a hob, usually taking no more than 10 minutes for many things.
I use the smoker for smoking cheese, chicken, prawns, chocolate, flour*, fish and all manner of vegetables: most often onions and garlic, which I use in this hummus.
*Smoked flour is seriously good, especially for bread, adding a wonderful depth of flavour: I use about a third in a recipe to give a nice hint of smokyness.
Smoking on a BBQ
You can use a BBQ for smoking the ingredients. In which case simply put the oak chips into a disposable foil container (go to a couple of handfuls given the larger space within a BBQ) and pop directly on the BBQ over a high heat until they start to smoke.
Put the ingredients for smoking into another container next to the wood chips and close the BBQ lid.
You can now let them smoke away for about 20-30 minutes or so: a bit longer in a BBQ than the indoor smoker, given the size of the BBQ.
I smoke half the amount of chickpeas used for a batch of hummus and leave the rest unsmoked. By only smoking half of the chickpeas, the hummus is not over-powered by the smoke.
I also like to add some of the peeled garlic, reserving the rest of the garlic raw for blitzing to give that more pungent garlic hit.
You can use any smoking chips but oak chips or applewood chips give a particularly wonderful flavour for this hummus.
Smoked hummus: serves 8-10
- 2 tablespoons oak chips (applewood is also great)
- 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
- 1 onion, quartered, with the peel on – optional
For the hummus:
- 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
- 2-3 tablespoons tahini paste
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra if needed
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- juice of up to 1 lemon
- a splash of water, if needed
- a couple tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- a tablespoon or so of the smoked chickpeas
- a few pinches of smoked paprika
- chive flowers, optional
(1) Put the wood chips in the bottom of a smoker and heat until they just start to smoke. Lay foil over the rack, poke a few small holes through – to help the smoke permeate more – and place the garlic, chickpeas and onion (if using) onto the foil.
(2) Place the rack onto the wood chips, cover and heat over a low heat for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on so the chickpeas, garlic and onion take on the most flavour.
(3) Put the smoked garlic and all but about a tablespoon of the smoked chickpeas into a food processor. Remove the peel from the smoked onion and add this to the food processor along with the remaining ingredients.
(4) Blitz for a few seconds to give the texture you prefer: you can keep it a little chunky or go very smooth. Add a little water if it seems too thick or is not blending.
(5) Taste and adjust seasoning: a little more lemon juice, olive oil or salt if needed. Place into a serving dish and drizzle over more oil and scatter the reserved smoked chickpeas on top along with a light dusting of smoked paprika. Serve with flatbreads, carrots, celery…….basically, whatever is at hand!