Hummus is not a sad side in Tel Aviv. It’s a gutsy meal, served in a bowl for one to tuck into with a spoon. I love that, as frankly who wants to share. I was in Tel Aviv for several weeks in 2017 learning about the food and one thing that struck me was how this sensational snack had been elevated into something utterly divine. I tried loads, eating my way around the city and beyond.
The creamy Arabic hummus from Abu Hassan (Ha-Dolfin St 1, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel) was extraordinarily good. The family have been making hummus since the 1950’s and serve three different types for breakfast; classic, hummus foul made with fava beans and finally hummus msabaha, a lighter version. Then the wonderful hummus from Shlomo and Doron (Yishkon 29, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Tel Aviv-Yafo), a family run café of Ha Carmel. They make different types of hummus and serve them with pitta and raw onion. The onion being the perfect scooping vehicle that doesn’t fill you up as much as bread. The trick is getting the right consistency and after beg, stealing and borrowing, my version, I hope, does this fabulous food justice. Enjoy.
- Tip the chickpeas into a large saucepan and cover over with water. Cover and leave to soak overnight. Drain and refresh. Tip into a clean pan and cover with several inches of water. Add the baking powder and bring to the boil over a high heat. Skim off the foam. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, skimming off any scum as you go, for 1-11/2 hours, or until the chickpeas are beautifully tender. Add more water if they need it. Drain over a bowl, reserving the cooking liquor.
- Wash the chickpeas thoroughly in cold water and drain well. Put a handful of chickpeas to one side for garnish and tip the rest into a food processor. Add the lemon, garlic, tahini, 50ml chickpea water and a really good pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. If the mix it too thick, loosen with a little more chickpea water. Do a taste test. You can add more tahini to make it richer if you like and salt to taste.
- Tip the hummus into a serving bowl. Using the back of a spoon, swirl into the bowl making a well. Add the remaining chickpeas. Pour over the olive oil and add the parsley and a pinch of paprika. Serve immediately with warm flatbreads.
250g dried chickpeas
2 tsp baking powder
Juice of a lemon
2 cloves garlic
A handful of finely chopped parsley leaves
Extra virgin olive oil to serve
½ tsp. paprika
Flat breads to serve