Hummus - Tel Aviv’s Soul Food

Hummus has been a Middle Eastern favorite for over 7,000 years; however, this Israeli dish is not ubiquitous in Tel Aviv. “In Israel we so enjoy tahini (a paste of sesame seeds) that goes into hummus that we even use it by itself,” says Top Chef Ronen Skinezes, of Tel Aviv’s Manta Ray restaurant. “We spice up tahini with lemon juice for a breakfast dip, and mix it with honey to make a dessert similar to halvah.” According to Estee Hurwitz, Director of Special Projects at Manta Ray, the restaurant serves hummus on the beach from a kiosk between May and October. “Freshly made hummus, clean white sand and a beautiful view of the city of Jaffa; what could be better?”

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, (soaked overnight in cold water)
  • 1/3 cup ice cubes
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup tahini paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt

Soak chickpeas in water overnight and drain before cooking. Place the chickpeas in a large saucepan with more cold water to cover, bring to the boil and cook over a medium heat for one hour until very tender.

Drain the peas and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, and then transfer the chickpeas, reserved cooking liquid and ice cubes to a food processor. Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic and cumin, and then pulse until smooth. Season to taste and serve with your favorite flatbread or crudité and imagine a refreshing sea breeze!

Editor's Note: For ultra-smooth, silky hummus, you can soften the chickpeas by adding baking soda to the soaking and cooking water. Baking soda raises the pH of the liquid helping the chickpeas break down and tenderize more easily. To make cook one cup of dried beans, dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in six cups of cold water and soak overnight. Refresh with another six cups water and a teaspoon of baking soda and cook as usual.