With our simple method, removing skins from chickpeas is far less arduous than you might imagine.
When we were developing our recipe for Restaurant-Style Hummus (see related content), we discovered that removing the tough skins from the garbanzo beans resulted in a far creamier end product. Because it was such a hassle, however, we opted not to do so. But when we saw a recipe for hummus in Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook Jerusalem that used baking soda to make the process easier, we decided to give it a try. Ottolenghi and Tamimi stir baking soda into dried chickpeas that have been soaked overnight and drained. They heat the mixture in a pot for a few minutes before adding water and cooking the chickpeas as usual. The alkaline environment created by the baking soda helps break down the pectin in the beans, softening the beans’ skins so well that they disintegrate during cooking and are easily rinsed away.
We wondered if a similar approach might work for canned chickpeas as well. Sure enough, it did, with just a few modifications. For our method, toss the rinsed and drained chickpeas with baking soda (1½ teaspoons per 14-ounce can) and then heat them in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the beans are hot. Transfer the beans to a large bowl and wash with three or four changes of cold water, all the while agitating the beans vigorously between your hands to release the skins, which will float easily away. Easy, creamy hummus? Yes, please.