Growing up in Israel, I learned to appreciate great Hummus. No, not that Hummus as a side or as a dip, Hummus as the main dish, the hero of your lunch or dinner!
I’m talking about the Hummus that people stand in line for, like Abu Hassan (aka Ali Karavan) in old town Jaffa, and many others in other parts of the country like Acre and Haifa.
Since 2005, when I moved to the US, I kept looking for the perfect Hummus dish, and with the exception of a few rare places that are not in my area or even state, I found nothing.
So after a few years I started the journey of mastering the perfect plate of homemade Hummus.
I have tried so many recipes, so many ideas, and so many ingredients, and only after 7 years, I found my “hero” recipe.
Here is what I learned:
- The most important ingredient for the taste is the Tahini.
- The 2nd most important ingredient is using fresh lemon juice, and a lot of it
- Beans should be good and thick, but I found that beans from a can are the fastest and most consistent way to get from craving Hummus to eating it. Yet if you want to cook your own, I give some tips on how to do it, later on, just remember that this requires about 24-48 hours of prep time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still in love with the Abu-Hassan hummus and especially Messabacha dish. I don’t claim to be close to putting his throne at risk, but what I achieved here allows me to have a hummus lunch or dinner a few times a week at home without feeling sad! (Let’s face it, I eat hummus every day, just like the stereotypical Israeli guy!)
So here it is, I give you my Israeli-style Hummus Recipe, the one that is as close as I could get to my beloved Hummus back in Israel.
Raz’s Hummus Recipe
Prep time: ~60 minutes
Serving Size: ~2.5 Lbs
- 2 x Cans of SAHADI Chickpeas (buy) or 3-4 cups of your self-cooked Cheak Peas.
- 1 x Cup Al Wadi Tahina Paste (buy)
- ½ x Cup Extra light Olive Oil (buy)
- 1 x Cup Extra Cold Water
- Salt (~1 teaspoon)
- Cumin (pinch)
- 3-4 x Garlic Cloves
- 3-4 x Lemons
- Baking Soda
Prep for Self-cooked Beans
If you want to go the extra mile and cook your own bean, which no doubt will improve the taste, follow these instructions.
Plan at least 24-48 hours ahead of time as soaking and cooking take time.
Tip: Cook more than you need and freeze the extra for the next time. Depending on your cooking pot capacity you can do x2 or x3 the amount here. The amounts I list are good for a single batch of Hummus, per the recipe below.
- 3 cups of dry garbanzo/chick-peas beans
- Tip: The smaller the better. Ideally should be the size of a very small pea.
- Tip: Garbanzo and Chick-Peas are basically two names of the same exact bean (at least to the best of my research 😂)
- Baking soda (1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 Dry White Onion – optional
- Plastic (or other non-metal) bowl
- Large cooking pot (or a pressure cooker)
- Soak the dry garbanzo beans in fresh water (at least 1 inch over the beans) in the plastic bowl and mix with the baking soda
- Switch the water at least 3-4 times during the next 24 hours (every 4-6 hours). No need to add baking soda each time.
- Tip: The beans will double in size by the time you are done, so plan accordingly, and use a large enough bowl.
- Tip: watch for bad beans, little rocks, and other waste that might have found its way into the bag of dry beans
- After at least 24 hours, but not more than ~48 hours, rinse one last time, and place in a large enough cooking pot
- Tip: Some people even put the beans for a short sprouting phase and claim it improves the overall taste and even reduces the amount of, well, gas passed by eating the Hummus later on…, but swapping the water enough times should achieve the same)
- cover with water at least 1.5 inches above the beans
- Optional: add 1/2 dry white onion
- Bring to a boil and then keep cooking on low heat for about 2.5 hours.
- Tip: The time can be shortened to about 1.5 hours if you add 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- Tip: you can shorten the time to 1.5 hours without baking soda, using a pressure cooker. I found this very tricky because cooking garbanzo beans produce a lot of foam and you have to wait for the pressure-cooker to release all pressure naturally before you can open it, otherwise, you will spray your entire kitchen with the foam, so this adds another 30-45 minutes, and more often than not, you will end up spraying your kitchen, which adds another 15-30 minutes of cleanup time… so I stick to regular cooking 😬)
- As you cook, watch for foam, and scoop it out as it builds
- If needed, add water to ensure the beans are covered at all time
- Cooking is complete when the beans are hard enough to keep their structure but can be squashed between your fingers with light pressure. If you can’t squash them, keep cooking, but if they do not resist, you probably overcooked them, so, well… you need to go back to step one… or just crack open a can of beans… 🤔
- If you added the onion, just throw it away, and rinse the beans one last time in cold water.
- Depending on the beans you used, you might have shells floating around. I like to separate the shells from the beans (see below for how), but it is ok to keep them as is.
- If you cooked more than you needed, split them into bags (I use vacuum-sealed bags) and freeze the extras.
- Place the beans you will use in a bowl, cover in fresh cold water, and put in the fridge for at least 15-30 minutes, to stop the cooking process and stabilize the beans before the actual Hummus making starts.
- Rinse Chickpeas
Wash well from any of the can’s or cooking liquid residue (unlike common belief, I found that the cooking water is not great for Hummus. Freshwater does a much better job).
- If using beans from a can, or pre-cooked but frozen, re-heat using a pot and freshwater covering about 1.5-2 inches above the beans (make sure the beans are never exposed, always ensure there is enough water over them).
- Optional: Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda (I usually do this for canned beans)
- Cook the Chickpeas for ~15 minutes at maximum heat. Keep the pot half-covered and watch for foam overflow(!!!). Stir every few minutes and scoop the foam and any detached shells during the cooking process (baking soda is helping to separate the shells and soften the beans).
- Rinse and wash beans thoroughly in cold water and separate as many of the shells as you can. The cold water stops the cooking process.
Tip: run the beans in between your palms to separate as many of the shells from the beans and throw the shells away. To get rid of the shells, fill the bowl with water so they float, and slowly tilt the container so that the shells that are floating will fall out with the water as you drain it slowly. Repeat as needed.
- Keep the beans in the bowl covered with fresh cold water and place in the fridge to cool down for ~10-15 minutes. Cooling the beans stops the cooking process which in turn makes sure the beans remain firm enough and do not get too soft before we grind them.
Lemon Juice with Garlic
Question: how much lemon juice should you use? This is a great question and one that depends on personal taste. I like my Hummus on the sour side, so I use about ~3/4 cup of lemon juice, but you may tone it down if this is too much for you. You can play with the ratio of lemon to water as well. For a start, maybe start with 1 lemon and add more lemons in future batches until you rich the flavor you like, or add it as you go and taste after you mix some more.
While the beans are cooking and/or cooling, prepare the lemon juice with garlic as follows:
- Squeeze the juice of 1-4 fresh lemons (about 1/2 – 3/4 of a cup if you want to get it to my liking)
- take 4-5 garlic cloves and separate them from most of their shell (not too critical because of the way we will crush them)
- Place the fresh lemon juice and the garlic cloves into a mini food processor with a splash of freshwater (~ 1/8th of a cup or more if you prefer a less sour-result)
- Smash it all together in the mini food processor
- Through a fine-mesh strainer, pure the mix into a container, and use a spoon to smash the garlic through the strainer.
This method will keep the rich flavor of the garlic but avoid any chunks of it in the hummus.
Once the beans have cooled down and the lemon/garlic juice is ready, we can move on to the final step.
- Rinse the beans one last time, getting rid of any leftover floating shells. Drain the beans to get rid of as much of the water. It is ok to have some shells left. We got rid of most of them by now.
- For the mixing phase use a food processor with a lower metal blade, like this one
- Fill the food processor’s container with:
- The beans (you may keep a small amount for decoration if you want)
- 1 cup tahini paste (stir well first)
- ½ tbsp salt
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- The Garlic+lemon juice
- Start the food processor. Watch the texture of the hummus as it is being processed. Slowly add the cold water as needed to achieve the desired consistency. A good Israeli style hummus is silky smooth yet firm enough so that when the blade is taken out, the hummus stands still in the container. Stop and taste. You can add more of the spices as you see fit.
- Once you are happy with the taste, keep running for 2-3 minutes
- While running, slowly add the ½ cup of extra light olive oil.
- Stop the food processor and check the consistency of the Hummus. Again if you brought it to the right level, once the blade is taken out, the Hummus should stand still like in this photo.
Serve the Hummus with light paprika, pine nuts, good (not light) virgin olive oil, and some parsley.
Brave people will eat it with a strong and spicy Yeman dip called S’CHUG (a recipe I found online)
A lite option can be eating it with Moon Pops.
Why do I use beans from a can?
Many people will only use dry garbanzo beans and go through the process of soaking and cooking for hours. Personally, I have yet to find a winning cooking method that gave me the expected consistency, so I jump between cooking and using cans every so often. Canned beans give me great results and save me 1-2 hours of cooking and 24-48 hours of prep (soaking, swapping freshwater, etc.), so I use canned beans! You #Can Kill Me!
But no doubt, the self-cooked beans do elevate the taste and remove some of the bitterness and aftertaste that you sometimes get with canned beans.
The cooking method I suggested above, (inspired by many recipes I read and most recently by my friend and a Hebrew food blogger Yuval Shchory) is the best method I found to get decent and consistent results, so if nothing else, at least follow these steps.