Cook the Book: Complete Hummus

Cook the Book: Complete Hummus

[Photographs: Eilon Paz]

It seems only right to begin a week of recipes from Janna Gur's The Book of New Israeli Food with hummus, the ancient chickpea dip. But there's a big difference between the plastic container supermarket stuff and the real deal.

In Israel, hummus is treated as a blank canvas for all sorts of toppings. This Complete Hummus begins with a great recipe for basic hummus—dried chickpeas soaked overnight and blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic—which are topped off with a pool of spicy lemon-cumin-hot pepper sauce, drizzles of olive oil and raw tahini, and a sprinkle of parsley and chopped onion, and even whole chickpeas if you'd like.

Served with fresh, warm pita, this is the kind of hummus that could easily make for a fantastic summer meal on its own. And one taste of the bright, fresh flavors and exciting textures will have you seriously reconsidering that supermarket gunk.

Reprinted with permission from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur. Copyright © 2007. Published by Schocken Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:8 to 10
  • Active time: 20 minutes plus an overnight soak
  • Total time:3 hours


  • Basic Hummus Dip
  • 1/2 kg (1 lb 2 oz) small dry chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup raw top quality tahini
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt to taste
  • The Sauce:
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
  • 4-5 Shipka peppers (small hot green, pickled peppers), seeded and chopped
  • To Serve:
  • Raw tahini
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Chopped onion


  1. 1.

    For the Basic Hummus Dip:Soak the chickpeas overnight in a large bowl of cold water with one tablespoon of baking soda.

  2. 2.

    Drain and rinse the chickpeas and put them in a large pan. Add water until it reaches 2-3 cm (1 inch) above the chickpeas. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and bring to a boil. Cook covered over low heat for 2-3 hours, until the chickpeas are very soft. Cool slightly, drain and save some of the cooking liquid.

  3. 3.

    Put the chickpeas in a food processor, add 2/3 cup of the tahini and process until almost smooth. If the paste is too thick, add a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Season with lemon, garlic and salt; taste and adjust the seasoning. For a richer creamier version, add the remaining tahini and process until the hummus is
    completely smooth and fluffy.

  4. 4.

    For the Complete Hummus: Mix the ingredients for the sauce and set aside for one hour.

  5. 5.

    Spoon 2-3 heaping tablespoons of hummus dip into each serving plate and
    spread around the rim, leaving a crater in the center. Fill the crater with one tablespoon of raw tahini. Pour on 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce, sprinkle some olive oil and top with chopped parsley and onion.

  6. 6.

    For Complete Hummus with Whole Chickpeas: Add 2-3 tablespoons of warm cooked chickpeas to each plate of hummus dip. Pour the sauce and the olive oil on top and serve with chopped parsley and onion.