This hummus…oh my.
The texture is unlike the spackling paste that often gets toted as hummus in so many places. This is ethereally creamy and probably smoother than most hummus (Hummuses? Hummi?) that you’ve had before, unless you knew about Israeli-style hummus all along and were just keeping your cards close to your chest, in which case, well played.
The delicate texture of this hummus is apparently due to 2 sources: baking soda (not something I ever thought to put in hummus) and tahini. But not just any tahini. GOOD tahini. Luckily, unlike most food products, good tahini does not equal expensive tahini. In fact, the tahini that I often use can be bought at No Frills (see link), and the tub that I bought for this recipe was from a bulk store. Evidently the secret to not-shitty tahini is to get one that is made from hulled sesame seeds, otherwise you risk getting that bitterness that for years made me think I hated tahini. As for the baking soda, apparently it helps the chickpeas break down while cooking (like emotionally break down…you need them really vulnerable before you can puree them). Mushier chickpeas = smoother hummus. Oh yeah….by the way, you need to start with dried chickpeas for this recipe. No shortcuts.
If better texture alone isn’t selling you, I should also mention that the taste of this hummus is quite unmatched. The flavours are somehow simultaneously mild and bold. The sheer amount of tahini imparts a nuttiness that I never realized was missing from every hummus ever. Plus, the garlic gets added in a really sneaky indirect kind of way that doesn’t render you unkissable for several decades following consumption.
It’s okay if you’ve gotten to this point and you think “okay, I see what you’re saying, but I’m just never going to be the kind of person who soaks chickpeas overnight and THEN cooks them for nearly an hour just so that I can eat hummus”. I hear you. There are no hard feelings. In fact, I have another very delicious hummus waiting just around the corner for you that requires none of the aforementioned fussiness. See? We can make this work, you and I.
BA’s Best: Hummus (Israeli-style)
Taken directly from BA’s Best arsenal, with the most minor of tweaks here and there
Makes about 4 cups of hummus (so…a lot of hummus)
1 cup dried chickpeas
2 tsp baking soda, divided
4 small cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (possibly more if you like your hummus quite lemony)
1 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup good quality tahini
¼ tsp ground cumin
Optional adornments: pine nuts + chopped Italian parlsey, pomegranate seeds + chopped mint, zaatar + olive oil
Place chickpeas and 1 tsp baking soda in a medium bowl and add cold water until the chickpeas are covered by at least 2 inches. Cover the bowl and let sit overnight (about 8-12 hours) until the chickpeas are plump and hydrated. Drain and rinse.
Add the chickpeas and remaining 1 tsp baking soda to a large pot. Add cold water to cover the chickpeas by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45-60 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. The chickpeas should be tender and falling apart by the time they’re done cooking. Drain and set aside to cool.
Place the garlic, lemon juice, and salt in the food processor (or a high-speed blender). Process/blend until pureed, then allow to sit for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing on it with the back of a spoon to release as much juice as possible. Keep the liquid, discard the solids. Don’t worry about cleaning out the food processor, just scoop out any chunks of garlic with a paper towel.
Pour the tahini into the food processor/blender. That’s right, POUR the tahini. Your tahini should be smooth and silky enough that it can be poured. If your tahini needs to be spooned out of the jar, you did not get good tahini and this may impact the taste of your hummus. Add the garlic water and pulse to combine. With the motor running, add ¼ cup ice water by the spoonful and process until the mixture becomes very smooth, pale, and thick. You may notice it seize up at first, but keep adding water and it should even out again. Add the chickpeas and cumin, and process for four full minutes, scraping down the sides every so often. The hummus should be extremely smooth. If the hummus is too thick for your liking, thin it out with a little bit of ice water. Taste and season with more lemon juice, salt, and/or cumin if desired.
To serve, spoon the hummus into a shallow bowl (or several bowls if presenting with a few different toppings). Make a well in the centre or trace shallow grooves around the hummus and drizzle with olive oil. See aforementioned adornments for my personal favourites. Serve with grilled pita, crackers, or crunchy vegetables (I opted for radishes, endive, and radicchio).