200g dried chickpeas
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
6 tbsp tahini
Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
3 cloves garlic, crushed, or according to taste
Pinch of cumin
Salt, to taste
Olive oil, to top
Sweet chili dip in centre (optional)
Paprika or za’tar, to top (optional)
1. Put the chickpeas in a bowl and cover with twice the volume of cold water. Stir in 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and leave to soak for 24 hours.
2. Drain the chickpeas, rinse well and put in a large pan. Cover with cold water and add the rest of the bicarb. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently until they’re tender – they need to be easy to mash which will take between 1 and 4 hours depending on your chickpeas. Add more hot water if they seem to be boiling dry.
3. Leave them to cool in the water, and then drain well, reserving the cooking liquid, and setting aside a spoonful of chickpeas as a garnish. Mix the tahini with half the lemon juice and half the crushed garlic then stir in just enough cooled cooking liquid to make a loose paste. Add this, and the chickpeas, to a food processor and whizz to make a purée.
4. Add the cumin and a generous pinch of salt, then gradually tip in enough cooking water to give a soft paste – it should just hold its shape, but not be dry. Taste, and add more lemon juice, garlic or salt according to taste.
5. Tip into a bowl, and when ready to serve, drizzle with olive oil, garnish with the reserved chickpeas and sprinkle with paprika or za’tar if using.
Serve with flat breads, salad, cucumber yogurt and mint dip and tomato and cucumber chunks or slices.
(If in a hurry, use tinned chickpeas and miss out steps 1 and 2.)