As we get ready to leave, in a few months, and head off to the States again, we are confronted with the prospect of terrible hardships in the form of hummus deprivation.

I know Americans think that they get “hummus” when they go into one of those Middle-Eastern places and order “hummus” off the menu. The truth, my friends, is they don’t. What they get is what an Israeli friend of mine once referred to as “a fun garlicky spread, but no resemblance to Hummus”. Part of what comes with culinary diversity is that some of the production methods of stuff disappear as they emigrate across the seas. Also, stuff gets adjusted to foreign palates and loses its original taste.

(I suspect the same is true for ethnic cuisines I’m less familiar with, and a Japanese friend assures me that sushi served in America tastes nothing like Japanese sushi. Now I’m curious).

Anyway: one thing that holds true for many Israelis is that we sure love our hummus, and therefore have to decide what to do when away from adequate sources. One solution is to adopt the “no hummus outside Israel” rule. Another is to adjust to the local varieties and give a fair chance to the strange designer dips (roasted pepper hummus, pesto hummus, and other travesties). We, as usual, are taking the third path, and Chad is specializing in making hummus at home. Here’s how he does that.

1 kg garbanzo beans
juice from one lemon
1 garlic clove
1 cup raw tchina
1/4 cup olive oil
Possible garnishes: ready tchina (with lemon juice, parsley and garlic); leftover cooked garbanzo beans; ful; hard boiled egg.

Let garbanzo beans soak in water for at least a night. Discard the water.

Cook them in a lot of new water until very, very tender. While they are cooking, periodically remove the foam from the surface of the pot. To see if they are ready, try squeezing one and see if it becomes mush. This is not a time for haste. They really have to get very soft.
Then, place them in your food processor with the tchina, some olive oil, a bit of lemon juice and – only if desired – the garlic clove. Add some of the cooking water to reach desired consistency. Process until smooth or semi-smooth (we like it a bit chunky).

Use a large spoon to “coat” a serving plate with hummus, then, in the middle, add a little mound of tchina, whole garbanzo beans, ful, or an egg cut in half.

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  1. The hummus isn’t a problem for me (although my recipe is a bit different, but hey, that’s what food is about).

    I have gotten to the point where I would consider committing some crimes for a really good pita.

    (We’ve got real bread in town, in several varieties. But what’s with the stale-pita-in-plastic-bag travesty?!?)

  2. Yes, there’s no excuse for the weird pitas. I wonder what’s up with that.

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