Let’s face it: Israelis are obsessed with hummus. It’s difficult to know where to begin explaining the collective love affair with this savory, creamy chickpea dish that is so much more than the sum of its humble parts. In fact, we even eat it as a whole meal, gobbled up with fluffy pita, slices of zingy white onion, or even just with a fork - it’s that good.
Driving to the most obscure corners of Israel to ‘wipe’ an entire bowl of hummus can practically be considered an Israeli national sport, and it’s easy to see why. Once you’ve had hot and freshly-pureed hummus from your favorite Israeli hummus joint, it is pretty much impossible to go back to the pale imitation of hummus that you’ll find in grocery store refrigerators outside of Israel. Your best bet is to whip up a batch at home - with the right ingredients, you’ll be transported back to sunny, hummus-eating days in Israel.
Note that hummus is very versatile and can be adapted to your liking - feel free to play around with the ingredients (like adding more tahini if you like it extra creamy) or add your favorite toppings, like sumac and parsley. You can even add shakshuka on top for a special hummus-shakshuka hybrid known as humshuka. The possibilities are endless - so let’s get started.
1 cup dried chickpeas (produces approximately 3 cups when cooked)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
⅔ cup tahini
¼ cup (or more, to taste) fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ teaspoon (or more) ground cumin
Place chickpeas and 1 of the teaspoons of baking soda in a medium bowl and cover with cold water, with at least 4 inches of water covering the chickpeas. Cover and let sit at room temperature (in the summer, it is better to keep in the refrigerator), for at least 10-12 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Combine soaked chickpeas, 2 cloves of garlic and the remaining 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, with at least 4 inches of water above the chickpeas.
Bring to a boil, skimming surface as needed. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until chickpeas are very tender and falling apart between your fingers, for at least 1.5- 2 hours. Cool for another 1.5 hours in the fridge with the cooking water. After cooling, set aside a 1/3 cup of cooked chickpeas for topping.
Process the chickpeas and cooked garlic for 2-3 minutes without the water (keep cooking water for later). Slowly add the tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a food processor. Process for another 2 minutes, add some of the cooking water until texture is smooth and rich.
Transfer to bowl or plate and top with reserved cooked chickpeas. Taste and season with more salt, lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil and more cumin as desired.
Photo credit: The Mediterranean Dish