Hummus Thoughts 2021

Sometimes we are trying to overthink recipes and find short cuts or new ways to expand flavor and taste. I have been making hummus for years and I have never been fully satisfied for various reasons.

I guess most of the problem is confusion, the idea of experimenting to discover the end result is unsatisfactory. After tasting so many variations of hummus during our travels, I begin to realize atmosphere plays an important role, and it’s the same for many cuisines. If I think of kaiseki, a traditional Japanese cuisine, the setting is key to the success of any meal. And of course for beginners who only sense the essence that satisfies them, but for experts it is all about the nuances and the details.

Hummus isn’t complex but then again it is what we think makes things complicated. I always think of Ali Karwan – Abu Hassan one of the oldest and most famous hummus restaurants in Israel. Its original branch is on Dolphin Street in Jaffa and today there are other locations. Here the hummus is pure, warm creamy and you cannot mistaken it for what I do in my kitchen, some things cannot be easily copied and the deli atmosphere helps.

The first step is texture and hummus is in part about texture. If you dissect any recipe you can begin to see how important texture is key in many recipes. A crunchy chopped pickle some use it with hummus, and such other foods such as fermented soya bean, abalone raw, potato chips, etc., are all so textural and key to the success of the food.

Hummus is about texture and when you count the 4 principle ingredients: chickpeas, garlic, sesame and Lemon, you realize texture must be key. Yes, think of continuous scarpetta of a dish, and hummus means using bread (Pita) to sop up each mouthful, and it is a ritual.

My obsession with hummus starts with the skins and how to treat them during the making of hummus. I went almost crazy for a summer testing how to remove the skins and if you see how many skins are floating in the cooked water it is incredible: but don’t waste your time reading my articles on hummus making because today I have the solution.

The fact is there are several stages in making hummus:


The soaking is key and overnight with baking soda to soften the chickpeas, and the cooking until they are soft, and then the processing is key and you must use some garlic, salt and no oil whatsoever, and add the tahini and start the blending (processing) and you add lemon juice to flavour and the key is, and this works: you add iced water to the mixture to blend it and get the smooth texture you prefer. The less iced water and the less blending the more texture.

The piece of resistance is the tahini and you need to make it flavourful: so take some water and whisk the tahini (using icy water) until it is smooth and creamy and add some delicate flavour here t contrast the hummus.

The hummus is the base and texture is key, and now you add the creamy tahini that you flavoured with garlic oil and you have the combination of the base with the topping. I used roasted onions, capers and roasted peppers with some fresh lemon micro slices, and while it isn’t traditional, it is flavourful and no doubt delicious and the brain says “two-layers” different in texture, and one needs the other to satisfy the dish. You can always use some cooked chickpeas and always some fresh herbs such as parsley chopped and I love pepper.

The idea of using yoghurt in hummus isn’t stupid but it isn’t called for yet the fat can add a dimension of taste and maintaining some liquids from the cooking can be useful, but be careful when you add salt during cooking as it can have an adverse effect on the skins.