Sunday, March 27, 2011


I don't feel comfortable posting this; At first I wasn't sure if this post files under 'fuck ups' or not. I made hummus once before, it wasn't bad, but it did not go as it should have, and I kept thinking there's some secret someone's not telling me. I still think that.

One of my roommates had a birthday today, and he had a small party (It's still going on actually, so I'm not even attempting to sleep). When they interviewed me for my room, he said he was the only in the apartment who cooked, and that he doesn't allow the others to eat his food. I'm glad to say I'm the exception; I always try and make him taste what I'm making, and he got used to me watching him cook, as I try to catch anything that's worth learning, so he’s been allowing me to sample his cooking.
Naturally, I asked him if he wants me to make something for the party. He said that I should make “finger-food,” something for people to eat as they wait for others to come. I knew I had to impress, and I kept getting lost in all the different options, but after almost a day of thinking, I decided to make hummus.
In Israel hummus is more or less holy - people live on it, and everybody has their favorite and won't listen to anyone who's claiming otherwise. Making it at home, however, is something different; most homemade hummus I’ve had tasted very much 'homemade' - and not in a good way. I mean, even if it tasted good, it was still miles away from having the right light-smooth texture 'real' hummus should have.
As I mentioned before, my first attempt at homemade hummus didn't go well, but I thought maybe I have learned since, and so I read all these hummus guides, all promising perfect results.
I was skeptical but went on with it. At this point I have to say there are a lot of things people consider to be 'a lot of work' - baking, for instance. I usually disagree; however, hummus is A LOT of work. I barely got any sleep working on it from 3pm Friday till 3pm Saturday.

This is what I did:


I washed the chickpeas well, removing any bad ones (dark spots, weird color).

Let them soak in water for 12 hours (Don’t use a metal container. It will make them go bad). The guide said to put rock salt in the bottom, which I didn't have, so I put regular salt, which is not the same, but I don't think that made the difference.
Apart from that, there's the baking soda thing. It was a huge debate among guides, but I thought it would definitely help make them softer (which was my main concern) and so I used some. But here comes another issue - is baking soda the same as baking powder? I didn't have soda so I put baking powder. Everywhere I checked said that yes, indeed they are the same. However, while lying in bed trying to write this post, I remembered some other more scientific-looking site that said something else, so maybe I chose wrong.

12 hours later i washed them and let them soak in clean water for 4 more hours (which was when I got my brief sleep).


I put the chickpeas in a huge pot (I made 1k; that's a lot) along with one whole onion and 3 garlic cloves (the onion doesn't actually go in the final hummus, just the cooking).
After it boiled, I lowered the heat a bit and cooked for 45 minutes.

Then I added more baking powder, reduced the heat more and cooked for 4 more hours (stirring it every half hour and removing the foam {skimming?}). (It said it would be done in 1-1.5 hours, and I think it just stayed the same that entire time)

I strained them (keep the cooking water), washed them, and let them cool for an hour.

Making the hummus:

Another big mystery is the shells. In order to have perfectly smooth hummus you need to remove them (as many as you can). All the guides said they would just detach while cooking. They didn't.

So I started peeling them one by one, and realized it would take two days, so I tried pressing on them, once on a towel, once through a mesh, both didn't do any good. The final and best method was washing them in cold water, and massaging them under it, removing the floating shells. I can't say all of them were peeled, but pretty close.

Now comes the grinding part, which along with the cooking is the other explanation I have to not getting it completely right. I used a hand mixer, the guide said food processor, I don't think that made the difference either, but maybe that's part of it.
So grind them along with some of the cooking water, adding more if not fluid enough (I ended up using most of it), until it gets to the right texture (should be quite light, just a little thicker than a thick soup).

I added 1 cup tahini, lemon juice (2-3 lemons), salt, cumin, paprika and one fresh garlic clove (there were the cooked ones already in), then processed until very smooth.


I made tahini, 'Turkish salad' (to be posted soon) and pita (same).
I poured the tahini on the hummus, drizzled with olive oil, and added chopped parsley, copped onion and paprika.

The party guests really loved it, they complimented me in three different languages. I, however, was not as pleased. It was good, but not what I was hoping for, and after confronting my Gnocchi fear, I thought I'd have better luck with this one as well.
There are some thing I'm definitely going to do differently next time:

- Use the Bulgarian type of chickpeas (I'm pretty sure it'd be hard to get around here, so maybe it'll be in Israel).
- Use baking soda, not powder.
- Put the cooked chickpeas in icy water, hoping the shells would come off more easily.
- Put much more tahini. I think the ratio was wrong.

That's it. Pita and Turkish salad posts coming up next.


  1. and not one word about our hummus, which btw, was great

  2. Hey! I was talking about it, you said yourself it wasn't good, but still didn't get to show me how you've improved... See you in November for a proper hummus session.

  3. Indeed!! and it did improve! see you in 8 months!

  4. For your next party, try this recipe - it will make the girls go crazy: