Hummus is as ubiquities in an Israeli fridge, or perhaps more so, as ketchup is to an American fridge, yet it wasn’t always so, and in fact the introduction of hummus to the Israeli home is quite recent.
Though Jews from the Levant have always enjoyed hummus it wasn’t an everyday food. To make hummus at home was time consuming and it was relatively expensive to buy.
Throughout history hummus was a food that was considered special and time consuming (before the advent of the food processer). To make the chickpeas and tahini into a spread was a big job. You would get hummus as part of a sandwich and as a street food staple. In Israel a common restaurant would be your neighbourhood ‘hummusia’ a place that serves hummus exclusively.
Then in 1994 Strauss group introduced to Israelis refrigerated salads including hummus – the campaign was simple; hummus Strauss said; was an everywhere, anytime food. In 1999 osem launched their own hummus and salads, and so culture changed and Israelis Jews and Arabs have readymade hummus in their fridges and not just as a street food.
By 2008 more than 8 million brits ate hummus on a regular basis – thank you Claudia Roden!
- 400 g dried chickpeas
- 1.5 teaspoon baking soda
- 2.5 l water
- 425 ml tahini (light roast)
- 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 100 ml ice cold water
- Good quality olive oil, to serve (optional)
The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the 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 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer.
Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy. Drain the chickpeas.
Place the chickpeas in a food processor add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste. Finally, slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to mix for about five minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Optionally, to serve, top with a layer of good quality olive oil. This hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.