game changing hummus

game changing hummus // the muffin myth

Our kitchen has a large window that faces into our building’s courtyard. Across the courtyard from our apartment, but directly in front of our kitchen window, are the balconies from another building. One of these balconies belongs to a couple who, each and every single day, bring all of their blankets, pillows, and rugs outside to shake them out and then hang them to air. The other day I looked up from what I was doing, saw this happening as usual, and thought to myself, people are weird. Also: what could they possibly be doing in there to get so dirty so often?

Naturally, I’m having this thought as I’m standing on my kitchen table taking a picture of a bowl of hummus. I know, right? People are weird.

game changing hummus // the muffin myth

You know what else people are up to? Peeling chickpeas. Peeling. Chickpeas. Why? Because peeling chickpeas gives you the most ridiculously bonkers smooth hummus you’ll ever have. And I’ll tell you, I was pretty upset the first time I made hummus with peeled chickpeas. Not because I had spent 15 minutes of my life peeling garbanzo beans, but because the hummus was So. Dang. Good. I knew I had sentenced myself to a lifetime of peeling peas. Ugh.

But! Chickpea peeling is fairly meditative work, and as I was midway though peeling a batch, cursing myself for even trying the technique in the first place, I remembered something that changed everything. Folks: CHANA DAL!!! Chana dal is split chickpeas. Split chickpeas that are ALREADY PEELED. You might be able to find a bag of chana dal at your regular grocery store, but if not, an Indian market or Asian grocery store (this is where I found mine) is a safe bet. Go get yourself a bag, cook ’em up, make the craziest, smoothest hummus you’ve ever had in your life, and roll your eyes at all the chickpea peeling weirdos in the world. But then be nice and let them know there’s an easier way. Chana dal for the win!

game changing hummus // the muffin myth

One year ago: Roasted Chickpeas with Three Paprikas
Two years ago: Kale Chips

Game Changing Hummus Recipe:

Aside from the naked chickpeas, this hummus recipe differs from others I’ve tried before in a few other ways. First, the chickpeas are pulsed into a fine powder before any other ingredients are added. Next, there is no oil in the recipe. And lastly, there is more tahini than I have ever used before. All of it adds up to a mighty fine hummus. You can adjust the amount of liquid to make it thinner or thicker, and use more or less lemon and garlic as you like. I tend to tread carefully with the garlic, as the flavour might seem mild at first, but will bloom over time. Also! Not all tahini is created equal – if you use a coarser tahini, your hummus will not be quite as smooth. If you can’t find chana dal you can use regular chickpeas. I recommend you peel them. I’m sorry, but I really do.

Recipe adapted from Jerusalem via Smitten Kitchen


1 3/4 cups cooked chana dal or peeled cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup tahini paste
2-4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use 4)
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 – 1 tsp salt, to taste
1/4 cup reserved chickpea cooking water, or water


Place the cooked chana dal or peeled chickpeas in a food processor and pulse for about one minute. Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt, and pulse the food processor to combine. With the food processor running, add chickpea cooking water one tablespoon at a time, until the hummus reaches your desired consistency. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times. Transfer hummus to a bowl, drizzle with a bit of good olive oil, and serve with pita, crackers, and veggies.


Chickpeas are a super food! They’re a very good source of folate, protein, dietary fiber, phosphorus and iron. The fiber in chickpeas is mostly insoluble, which is really good for our digestive tracts. You can read more about the health benefits of eating chickpeas here.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2013


    • Katie Trant says

      I sometimes peel and sometimes don’t peel depending on how much time I have and how committed I am to the smoothest hummus. You might be interested to test batches side by side that have been peeled or not… I, too, have a Vitamix, and the peeled chickpeas yield a notably smoother hummus.

  1. rOHAN says

    This very morning here was I – an avid hummus fan, raised on Indian food, now a lover of vegan Indian cookery – stood in my Tel Aviv kitchen having that eureka moment: “surely chana dal will make for good hummus?!” A quick google, and you’re the first hit. Thanks for the recipe, the extra tahina bodes well for the finished article.

  2. Gigi says

    Thank you for posting the amount of cooked chana dahl to use but would you happen to know how much dry you started with? How much dry chana dahl must I cook to get 13/4 cups cooked chana dahl. Thank you.

  3. Ann Engel says

    First, aren’t you losing most of the beneficial fiber when removing the skins?

    That said, have you considered using soaked chickpea flour? I have a couple bags of Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo flour purchased for making gluten free bread but it seems it might be applicable here. I just don’t know if they are cooked before milling or expected to be cooked as part of the recipe afterwards. It was just a thought to save time and a couple steps in the process.

    • Katie Trant says

      Hi Ann,

      You’d definitely lose some, but not all of the fiber. To be honest, I only remove the skins some of the time because it’s a major pain, but it does really give a silky smooth hummus you wouldn’t achieve otherwise. I’ve never even considered using chickpea flour, but you might be onto something! As it happens, I found a recipe on Bob’s Red Mill’s site for just that:

  4. John H says

    “1-3/4 cups of cooked chana dal” Is that measured before or after cooking? The chana dal takes up a lot more room after cooking! If it’s after, how much dry chana dal would that be?

    • themuffinmyth says

      Sorry for the delayed response! I thought I had replied to this from my phone, but clearly it didn’t go through.

      1-3/4 cups cooked chana dal is a measurement of the beans after they have been cooked. Most dried beans approximately double when cooking, so I’d start with 3/4-1 cup of dried beans. You can always freeze any leftovers for the next batch!

  5. Marion says

    I too am going to try this….I like the idea of getting the wine (in my case beer) and trying the peeling, just for the sake of it. But I will get the Chana dal just in case I only peel 4 or 5 peas…Ha ha….It sounds and looks awesome…thanks for the recipe. I will be sitting on my front verandah peeling chick peas and hoping that someone starts shaking their blankets ….will keep an eye out

    • themuffinmyth says

      Haha, yeah, get a frosty glass of beer ready and go for it! It really doesn’t take that much time, but if you can find a way around it (chana dal!) then do it. I hope you like it!

  6. Leanne says

    Katie, Chana dal? Genius! I peeled the chickpeas once and I must be a hummus Luddite because I didn’t think it was worth the extra half hour, peeling (I made a huge batch of hummus). But this is worth it! I can’t wait to try this, for that and the extra tahini!

    • themuffinmyth says

      Chana dal is totally game changing, right?! I think that the texture of the tahini is a factor as well because I just changed brands to one that is much runnier and much smoother, and it’s totally taken my hummus to another level.

    • themuffinmyth says

      Yay! I’m glad you tried it. It’s crazy smooth, right? Try and get your hands on some chana dal and skip the peeling (though you’d have to cook the beans, so…)

  7. kellie@foodtoglow says

    I am a weirdo chickpea peeler, and delineated my weirdness in a fairly recent post. But chana dal – excellent lateral thinking Katie! I will give this a whirl when I get home from the States. I also think whizzing everything until smooth and THEN adding in the chickpeas along with iced water makes very smooth hummus. Some people like their hummus a bit chunky but I am with you in the quest for smoothness. Different routes to the same delicious outcome.

    • themuffinmyth says

      I do remember your recent peeled chickpea hummus post! But if you’re cooking the chickpeas anyways, why not skip that step and use chana dal?! I’ll have to try the reverse formula, whirling the tahini and garlic and lemon together and then adding the peeled chickpeas. I’ve got another batch of chana dal soaking right now for hummus tonight, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

  8. Tracy S. says

    I just bought a bag at chana dal on Saturday–at Walmart, can you believe it? I will be making this tonight.

    Also, on the question of your neighbors, on Sunday I was researching futons for my daughter. I learned that it is the traditional way to care for sleeping mats.

  9. Oh My Veggies (@ohmyveggies) says

    You are my hero. Officially. I’ve been intrigued by this whole peeled chickpea hummus thing, but resistant to trying it because I am so terribly impatient. This? I CAN DO! Also, can I just say, I love that you use the word bonkers so much. 🙂

  10. Erin's DC Kitchen says

    The hummus looks awesome! I was listening to the Splendid Table and the host said some people swear by peeling chickpeas to get the smoothest hummus, but she recommended adding a little water to get the same effect. It helps emulsify the oil and chickpeas better, apparently. I peel chickpeas when making roasted curry chickpeas for snacking, it goes pretty quickly if you rinse them, lay out onto a paper towel, and then rub all over with another folded paper towel to loosen the skins. They slip right off!

    • themuffinmyth says

      Interesting! I’ve added water to hummus before, but it never gets quite as smooth as this. I’ll have to try that paper towel technique if I need to peel chickpeas in the future. But for now, chana dal in my hummus!

  11. Jess says

    I’ve SO been resisting the chickpea-peeling process, but you’ve convinced me. However, this chana dal mention surely makes me curious. I’ve never seen it, but I’ve also never looked. 😉 I have a reliable plce to buy chickpeas and tahini, but maybe they have this miraculous chana dal there too – I will be checking!

    • themuffinmyth says

      The chickpea peeling is definitely worth it! I guess you need to decide what’s more work – peeling a can of chickpeas, or cooking up dried split chickpeas (chana dal). Since I cook my beans from dried most of the time anyways, chana dal is the way to go!

  12. Kathryn says

    This is clever! I saw Deb’s post about peeling chickpeas and I quickly decided that life was too short for that kind of thing even if I did feel like I was missing out on the best hummus ever. This is the perfect solution.

  13. jacquie says

    please bear with me but i have a question bourne out of ignorance – is chana dal a type of chick pea that splits naturally? or is a chick pea that has been processed in such a way that it is split and then referred to as chana dal? if the later do you know anything about the process itself (i.e. mechanical or chemical or is hand labor involved) and how this processing effects the nutrional profile. Thanks.

    • themuffinmyth says

      Hi Jacquie,

      Chana dal is a regular split pea that has had the outer skin removed and then is split in half. You can do this with a regular (cooked or canned) chickpea by pinching it between your fingers, which will cause the outer skin to slip off, and then the two halves of the pea will naturally fall apart. I imagine to make chana dal the peas are probably skinned mechanically, and then they would split into two halves naturally during the drying process. The same thing can happen with a regular green pea – it’s the skin that holds the two halves together. Removing the skin would reduce the fiber content, but otherwise wouldn’t have any significant impact on the nutrition profile.

      • Lawrence Merritt says

        Chana Dal is made from a different, smaller, chick pea than the chick pea/garbanzo bean with which we in the west are most familiar. In India they are referred to as Desi (of our country) chana or gram ( (gram being another name for chick-pea) or kala (black – they have a darker husk), or Bengal chana or gram. The bigger chick pea/garbanzo bean is called Kabuli (from Kabul) or Safed (white) chana or gram.

        Another advantage of using chana dal is that the desi chick pea is lower glycemic than the “regular” chick pea.
        Besan, Indian chickpea flour is ground from desi chana dal, and is thus lower glycemic than garbanzo bean flour.

        • Katie Trant says

          This is something I actually just learned, Lawrence! Another reader emailed me about it last week, and I did a deeper dive into chana dal and discovered this interesting fact. So incredible that these chickpea cousins have so much to offer us, yet are also so different.

  14. Tessa says

    You made this sound like a mixture of all emotions. I think we’ll pour the wine first and then dive right into the peeling, blending and dipping. Looking forward to it!

  15. Sandra says

    Haha…I first heard about the chickpea pealing from smitten kitchen and I though..OK I’ll do it…I’m into that kinda thing….but you just made my day! I am definitely going to see if I can find Chana dal at a store near me. Thanks so much!!!

    • themuffinmyth says

      Peeling chickpeas is definitely work it for the smoothness of the hummus, and Deb is right, it only takes about 10 minutes. But Chana dal! Such a quick trick! I hope you try it.

  16. summerraspberries says

    It looks good! I also want to make hummus this week, finally got time for it. Thanks for the post!


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