Let's start with "no canned chick peas"
Radio Social's hummus has a cult following—here's why
The days of eating nachos and mozzarella sticks in bowling alleys may be a thing of the past, if you fancy spending time at Radio Social.
Since it opened in 2017, the stylish and spacious bowling and gaming destination offers something new to Rochester. Its Israeli-inspired menu is just one component of the diverse and enjoyable experience you’ll have as a visitor—and that’s on purpose. So says Steve Eakins, Radio Social’s executive chef. After working in New York City, he was recruited to be a part of the RS team and the rest is history. Its menu, which changes seasonally, is in many ways his baby.
“We try to really be thoughtful about every aspect of what we do,” says Eakins. “You’re not necessarily going to get an intimate, quiet dining experience here, but you’re going to get a sense of hospitality that’s super unique for this concept and the area.”
One of the dishes Radio Social is best known for is the house hummus. It’s light, creamy, and full of mystery. How do they get such impossibly airy consistency? What is the secret sauce?
If you want to make hummus as good as Radio Social’s, you need the secret Eakins graciously shared that might surprise you: The real hero of the dish is not the chickpeas but the tahini, a paste made from puréed sesame seeds. But for this recipe, you can’t use just any tahini. While working in New York City, Eakins discovered what he believes to be the best tahini, made by a small woman-run company called Soom Foods.
“This is what I’ve come to find is the best tahini in the world, and that’s what really makes our hummus stand apart from everyone else’s, and gives it that delicious creamy flavor,” says Eakins, noting that anyone can order Soom tahini on Amazon.
“It’s good for home cooks if you’re willing to go the distance.”
The entire dish can be made by closely following the chef-approved steps below. Using quality ingredients (no canned chickpeas!) is clutch, but also be prepared to invest the right amount of time it takes to soak, simmer, and blend it all together. The results will make it worth your while.
• 1 c. dried chickpeas
• 2 tsp. baking soda
• 2 c. tahini
• 1 c. lemon juice
• 2 heads of garlic, cut up with skins on
• 2 ½ tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. cumin
• 1 ½ c. ice water—a few tablespoons at a time
Take dried chickpeas and add to a plastic container with water and baking soda. Let sit for twenty-four hours. After they have soaked for a full day, they are ready to cook. Avoid canned chickpeas, as they are often undercooked.
While your chickpeas are soaking, make your “mother sauce” base. Take the tahini and garlic-infused lemon juice (to make this, combine lemon juice with garlic cloves with the skins on and let sit for ten minutes. Then strain out the garlic. Add the ice water, tahini paste, and salt and cumin to taste. Use a food processor to blend the mother sauce together. You should be left with your tahini mother sauce, a purée that resembles a light hummus.
Back to the chickpeas. After they have soaked for twenty-four hours, simmer over gentle heat for ninety minutes to two hours, stirring often. You can leave the pot on the stove and, as the chef says, “Let them go until they’re gone.” The chickpeas will double in volume in the cooking process, so be sure to use more water than you think you need. Cook the peas to the point of being overcooked; you should be able to take one between your fingers and mash it with no resistance.
Strain the peas until most of the moisture is removed. Set aside some of the water (it has great chickpea flavor and can be used in the purée). The final step is puréeing one-and-a-half cups of tahini mother sauce and the chickpeas together. Add both elements to the food processor and purée. A good rule of thumb: When you think you’re done puréeing it, purée it for another three to five minutes. This allows the air to become incorporated and the chickpeas to break down completely.
When you’re finished blending, plate your hummus into a dish and top with your garnish of choice. Serve immediately with dipping breads or vegetables. The hummus can be kept in the fridge for several days.
Bethany Bushen is a Rochester area freelance writer. Follow her at @BRBushen.