When I found out I had become allergic to sesame I was devastated. I just had to add it to the growing list: prawns, fish, almonds and peanuts – no bother.
Sesame was a component in so many of my favourite Middle Eastern foods, and in particular hummus. Having enjoyed it for so long, giving up “traditional” homemade hummus didn’t seem like an option, but sesame-free hummus it had to be. It may seem simple dip, but I have to admit it took some time before I had a technique for making sesame-free hummus I was happy to serve to others.
As with many ancient dishes, there are literally hundreds of ways to make hummus. There are many regional variations and even multiple ways to spell it (Hommos, homous, houmos, hoummos and humus), but they all have chickpeas, lemon, garlic and of course tahini. Luckily it turns out that tahini is so ancient that it too has developed some variations too – and one of them is using sunflower seeds instead of sesame seeds.
To make smooth and creamy sesame free hummus there are a couple of tricks you need to know.
Trick #1 – If you’re using dried chickpeas, put them in a large bowl and cover with twice the volume of cold water. Stir in a teaspoon of baking soda and leave to soak for 24 hours – this will help the chickpeas soften more quickly and makes the hummus creamier. Cooking them with baking soda softens the skins, make sure the cooked chickpeas are very soft.
Trick #2 – If using canned chickpeas they can be firmer, so for a really silky, creamy hummus, remove the papery skins. Rub the chickpeas between your fingers, easiest done in water, it’s a fiddly job, but worth the effort.
The final flavouring can be adjusted to suit your palate (or your family’s). To serve your hummus, drizzle a little olive oil on top, you could also add a sprinkle of za’atar, sumac or smoked paprika, or if you fancy some fresh herbs such as finely chopped coriander or mint.
Sesame free Hummus
- 125g dried chickpeas, or 1 x 400g tin
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda (optional)
- 2- 3 garlic cloves, or to taste
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed tahini or traditional tahini
- Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste approximately 45 ml
- Aquafaba 30ml
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Sea salt, to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil, to top
Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas. Put them in a large pot (or pressure cooker) with the remaining baking soda and cover with cold water.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until tender, adding more water if necessary – this may take a couple of hours or 20-30 minutes in a pressure cooker. Once cooked they should be easy to crush between your fingers but not falling apart.