Hummus has remained unchanged for centuries in the Middle East,
says Alia Yunis in Saveur. The word is Arabic for “chickpea,” and hummus bi tahini means “chickpeas with tahini.” Since it was introduced in America, hummus has taken on numerous variations—including such
unorthodox versions as black bean hummus. “Maybe that’s a
testament to American innovativeness.” But in the Levant—the region incorporating Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine—hummus remains an unchanging staple that’s served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In a recent sampling of 10 recipes, this one proved the best version of “real” hummus.
Recipe of the week
Hummus bi Tahini
(Hummus with sesame paste)
1-2/3 cups dried chickpeas, picked over and soaked overnight
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
Drain chickpeas, transfer to medium pot, cover with water, bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer partially covered until chickpeas are tender and skins begin to fall off, about 50 minutes. Drain well, reserve cooking liquid, set chickpeas aside to cool. (Use 4 cups of drained, canned chickpeas if time is limited.)
Peel chickpeas, discarding skins. Put chickpeas and ¼ cup cooking
liquid (or ¼ cup water if using precooked chickpeas) into food processor, purée until very smooth, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Put garlic and pinch of salt into mortar, crush with pestle until they form a paste.
Transfer to bowl of puréed chickpeas. Add tahini, lemon juice, salt
to taste; mix well.
Transfer hummus to shallow bowl; press a well into center with back of spoon. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle parsley and paprika into well, top with a few whole chickpeas. Serve with olives and pita.