Ruth's Israeli Humus
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I got this recipe from my friend Ruth who is from Israel. Because butter cannot be served with a meat meal, humus has become a very popular bread spread in Israel. People keep it on hand as we do peanut butter. It can also be used on sandwiches. I like to roast vegetables in a little oil and seasoned salt, then layer them with this humus on whole wheat bagels. It also makes a great party dip with wedges of pita bread. Some people like to dip raw vegetables in it—I can handle it with tomatoes or cucumber slices but otherwise find this practice revolting.

Humus and tahini are an acquired taste, but rather addictive. Also, if you haven’t lived in an area with a large Middle Eastern population, you may have never had good humus. Craig and I had only experienced a chalkey, flavorless paste prior to moving here. It took a lot of peer-pressure to convince us to try humus again…but it was well worth it!

  • 1lb dry chickpeas (also called garbanzos)

  • 2t baking soda

  • water

  • 1 onion

  • 6 cloves garlic

  • parsley, handful

  • 1 t ground cumin

  • ½ t salt

  • 1 c tahini (this is available in Middle Eastern grocery stores)

  • juice of 1 to 2 lemons

  • ½ c to 1 c good quality olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed

  • 1 t salt

Cover the chickpeas and baking soda with water. Soak overnight, then drain and rinse. Cover the chickpeas again with water. Add the onion, 6 cloves of garlic, parsley, cumin, and ½ t salt. Simmer for 5 hours. You’ll obviously have to keep adding water. You can turn the peas off if you need to go out (i.e. if you aren’t a home-body like me) and start cooking them again when you get back. Drain the cooked chickpeas (keep the onion and garlic and parsley with them), reserving the cooking liquid. Put the chickpea combination in a food processor. Add about ½ c of the liquid, tahini, ½ c of the olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 3 cloves of pressed garlic, and 1t salt. Process until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients if necessary. Stick the humus in the refrigerator for a few hours. It will tend to thicken up and lose some flavor. You may decide you need more lemon juice, olive oil or salt at this point. The humus should be a little thinner than toothpaste—about like all natural peanut butter at room temperature.

Yields about 1 1/2 quarts