The legendary hummus at Abu Hassan in Jaffa
Hummus had long ago become a staple food item that went into my grocery cart each week and for many of us, it's hard to imagine throwing a cocktail party without a bowl of it accompanied by pita chips and vegetables.
This past summer I took a trip to Israel to learn about Israeli wines and the kosher wine system. Not only were the wines fabulous but the food was spectacular - especially the hummus! Israeli hummus is different - the texture is light, smooth, fluffy and quite simply put - change your life out of this world delicious.
The secret to making fluffy hummus is to first soak the chickpeas and then boil them with baking soda until the chickpeas disintegrate into a soft mash. You then blend them with good quality raw tahini until smooth and creamy for Jerusalem style or you can mix it with whole cooked chickpeas for the chunkier Galilee version. I know this sounds like a lot of work but the flavor is far superior to any store bought hummus I've ever tasted.
I purchased souvenir bottles of tahini at the Carmel market in Tel Aviv
I recently served this at a dinner party and my guests went crazy for it and I promised everyone I would share the recipe so here it is. You can make it with canned chickpeas but the texture won't be as light and creamy. Enjoy!
Basic Hummus Dip (serves 8-10)
- 1 lb bag small dry chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup good quality raw tahini
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- salt to taste
Soak the chickpeas overnight in a large bowl with water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. The next day drain and rinse the chickpeas and put them in a large pan. Add water until it reaches 1 inch above the chickpeas. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and bring to a boil. Cook covered over low heat for 2-3 hours until the peas become VERY soft. Be patient with this step as undercooked chickpeas will yield a lumpy texture. Cool slightly, drain and save some of the cooking liquid.
Put the chickpeas in a food processor, add 2/3 cup tahini and process until almost smooth. Add cooking liquid if it is too thick. Season with lemon juice, garlic and salt - taste and adjust seasonings. For a creamier version, add the remaining tahini.
Hummus with full garnish
This is the version you would receive in a typical hummusia served with plenty of warm pita bread.
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper chopped (optional)
- 1 tablespoon garlic crushed
Additional garnishes: tahini, olive oil, fresh parsley, chopped onion
Mix ingredients for sauce and set aside. Spoon 1 cup of basic hummus dip in a shallow bowl and spread around the rim leaving a well in the center. Fill the well with 1 tablespoon of tahini, pour 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce and sprinkle with olive oil, parsley and chopped onion.