When cooking chickpeas, baking soda is used to soften the peas. Some say it affects the nutritional value and the flavor of the hummus. I tend to disagree.
One of the comments I do remember out of the batch I accidentally deleted earlier today (see the last post), was about baking soda. The person who wrote it noted that it has negative effect on the nutritional value, and also gives the hummus a soapy after taste.
He/she specifically mentioned the content of vitamin B which is presumed to be lost while cooking when using baking soda.
Well, I heard that claim before, and did some research of my own. As for the Vitamins – although chickpeas are certainly rich of them when raw, you shouldn’t expect much of it to survive the long cooking. Much of the nutritional value attributed to hummus, actually comes from the tahini – as far as vitamins are concerned. The cooked chickpeas are still rich in minerals, though.
The soapy flavor thing is, indeed, a possible side-effect of baking soda overuse. The secret, naturally, is to use a small amount of it – which all good hummus places do, with great success. You CAN use a pressure cooker, as one of the readers suggested a while ago. But if you don’t have one the baking soda is a must, or else the chickpeas would never be soft enough to achieve that famous creamy texture.