Jerusalem’s Hummus


I’d like to say that I spent the whole snow day that most New Yorkers enjoyed last week lazing around in pajamas, drinking coffee and wine while binging on Netflix. That would have been really lovely. Instead I spent it in the kitchen making hummus and washing loads of dishes I created for myself. Ugh, productivity, you’re the worst.

I thought having a project like making hummus would break up the day nicely. Ya know, wake up, lie in bed for a while, make a nice, egg-y breakfast of sorts. Then I’d watch some TV, make hummus, spend the rest of the day in a cozy cocoon of spandex and blankets until I poured myself a glass of wine and whipped up that chorizo, white bean, & kale stew. That would have been all fine and good, except for the fact that I forgot to factor in all the dishes I was going to have to clean each time I “whipped something up.”

the beginning of hummus

Oh well. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, amirite?

Plus now I have about a quart of hummus, so I don’t need to buy any Sabra for the frozen falafel I have in my freezer. That’s pretty solid.

tahini, garlic, lemon juice, etc

A pal of mine at work gave me some cookbooks that she doesn’t use anymore a few weeks ago. One of the cookbooks she gave me was “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. It’s hugely popular as it embraces the different cultures and great cuisine from Jerusalem. It features beautiful photographs of food and the city. I haven’t been able to delve too deeply into it yet, but I knew right away I wanted to try their hummus.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

I took this snow day activity seriously. With beans, I usually just use canned. I mean, they’re just so easy and they taste fine! But I decided to really get into this recipe. On Monday night, I soaked dried chickpeas so they could be cooked on Tuesday. So much foresight! Here’s where I lacked foresight; my food processor is a cute lil’ baby that usually does the trick, but it only holds three cups. Once the beans were cooked, they doubled in size, which meant there was about three and a half cups of chickpeas. OOPS.

With a little clever separating and turn taking, I managed fine, but next time I would definitely cut the recipe in half. Also, they didn’t use any oil in the recipe. To me that says the authentic way to make hummus doesn’t involve oil…but I found the hummus a bit dry, so I added some. And I would add more next time. Sorry, authenticity.

too many chickpeas!

too many chickpeas!

It tastes very nice, though, and I’ll be interested to see what grabs my fancy next in Jerusalem! As a true lover of carbohydrates, my favorite way to enjoy hummus is on a warm piece of pita, but crisp vegetables are pretty tasty too.


Basic Hummus

Adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Yields: about a quart


1 ½ cup dried chickpeas

1 teaspoon baking soda

6 ½ cups water

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini paste

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

6 ½ tablespoons ice-cold water

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Olive oil


  1. The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain the chickpeas and place in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the baking soda, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the 6 ½ cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook for about 20-40 minutes, until they’re very tender and break up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger. (Mine cooked rather quickly – 20 minutes, max.)
  4. Drain the chickpeas and place them in a food processor. Process until you have a thick paste. With the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 2 minutes, until you get a very smooth paste.
  5. Transfer the hummus to a bowl, drizzle with more olive oil, a few reserved, cooked chickpeas, some minced parsley, and maybe some sea salt to taste. Let it rest for half an hour before digging in. Note: you may want to portion some out to serve as it does yield quite a bit of hummus. Any hummus you’re not eating right away can just be put in the refrigerator.

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