If you follow along my blog you will know that I had an exceptional experience in Israel in January and I still havent recovered from the most amazing meals I enjoyed there. I also ate a fair amount of hummus, because when you are in Jerusalem, that is what you do. The best version of what we ate was at a tiny cafe just outside the Machane Yehuda Market. It was smooth and creamy with a delicious flavour and served with pita bread, falafel and a few pickles and condiments.
I have made many a hummus before but always took the shortcut and used canned chickpeas. I’ve added roasted beetroot to it, made it from peas and even did a pizza flavoured version which was really delicious. Please don’t judge. Utterly un-authentic but I loved playing around with the different flavours and they all tasted great. Since my visit to Israel and coming so up close and personal with hummus and seeing how the ownership of this dish is so fiercely contested, I knew I needed to make it the proper way. I turned to Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi and their beautiful and inspiring cookbook Jerusalem. I mean if anyone knows how to make the stuff it will be them. Their basic hummus recipe is legendary and even appears in the Food 52 Genius recipes cookbook – which I am steadily working my way through.
My thougths on the recipe:
I stuck to the recipe precisely apart from leaving the chickpeas to soak for two nights vs one (I don’t think this would have impacted on the outcome though). I also cooked my chickpeas for 30 minutes. They recommend between 20 and 40 and I found at 30 they were falling apart. They add a teaspoon of baking soda which shortens the cooking time, but I have heard that this is not necessary. They also processed a lot quicker than the recipe timing indicated and I found much quicker than canned chickpeas in general which seem to take forever to go smooth. They advise that you can play around with the flavours of this basic hummus and add cumin, more lemon juice or less tahini to suit your taste. Next time I will definitely use less tahini (probably half the amount) as I found the full cup very dense. I had brought back a jar of high quality tahini from Israel but I’m not sure if it’s of the light variety or not. I added a smidge more lemon juice as I felt it needed the acidity, but overall despite the taste being bang on perfect and reminding me or Jerusalem, the texture was not as light as I had hoped. I will add cumin next time too and will also cook a few extra chickpeas to reserve, once cooked, to add to the finished dish. I love the textural contrast this provides. That, or toasted pine nuts.
Oh, and I will only use dried chickpeas going forward. They are far superior and so inexpensive.
To find this recipe click here
I found the comments section in this New York Times article on the recipe very useful. People share amazing tips on hummus making and a few agree that this recipe is a bit heavy. If you are a geek like me and like to do tons of research before approaching a recipe, have a read. Someone also mentions that stirring Greek yoghurt through the final hummus lightens it up, and this is something I have been doing for years. It also makes it stretch further if you are catering for a crowd.
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