I always forget how much I love hummus and how easy it is to make until I make it. Here in Los Angeles, unlike in Israel, there are not a lot of hummusiyot, restaurants that sell only hummus. In Tel Aviv and Jerusalem there is one on every corner. My favorite place in Tel Aviv is located in an old synagogue (it used to be in Shuk HaCarmel.) It’s called Hummus Magen David.
Good hummus is warm, silky and nutty. It doesn’t have anything but soft chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and salt. Garlic and cumin are only a ditructaion. If you want to develop a sensitive yet easy to please taste buds go easy with your seasoning. (Even good Indian food doesn’t have too much spices.) Most of the proper hummus I had in Israel or any Middle Eastern restaurants didn’t have garlic in it.
The Palestinians add an ice cube to the food processor with the rest of the hummus ingredients. This makes the hummus velvety smooth. I like my hummus more creamy; thick hummus reminds me of the canned hummus I ate in the army when I was hungry and there was nothing better to eat.
To enjoy hummus to the maximum, you must eat it with a thick pita, any nice flatbread or good rustic bread. And always with your hands. If hummus is the main dish, then it’s better to serve it with a salad or two and pickles on the side.
If you can’t eat legumes for some health reason, try my root hummus – the upscale version of hummus.
- 2 cups dried chickpeas - or canned chickpeas*, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 7 cups water
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ cup tahini
- 2 garlic clove, peeled
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Olive oil – for garnish
- Chopped parsley leaves – for garnish, optional
- Put the chickpeas with baking soda in a large bowl and cover with water and, let them soak overnight (minimum twelve hours).
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and put them in a medium saucepan with water double their volume. Put the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Skim the foam and any skins that float on the surface and discard. Add the cumin and lower down the heat. Cook for 1 – 2 hours, depending on the type or freshness. The chickpeas should be very tender – easy to mush with your fingers. Add water to the pan if necessary – don't let the bottom of the saucepan burn, like I usually do! Remove from heat and let it cool. Before you drain them ladle a cup of the cooking water and set aside.
- Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a food processor. Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt and 2 tablespoons of the cooking water and process until you get a smooth paste. If the hummus is too thick, add a tablespoon or more the cooking liquid (or water). Palestinians put an ice cube, they claim that it makes the hummus velvety. The hummus should be smooth and stiff enough hold its shape. Taste and add salt or lemon juice if necessary.
- To serve: spread the hummus on a plate. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle paprika and garnish with parsley. If you not serving right away, refrigerate up to three days.