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    Hummus Recipe as Good as Zahav

    Raise your hand if you’re a hummus fan!

    I have never had the pleasure of dining at Zahav, but anyone who has commonly raves about one thing: the hummus!

    Lucky for us, Michael Solomonov graciously released the recipe for his sought-after hummus in his James Beard award-winning cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking. It is a gross understatement when I say that this hummus is phenomenal. So good in fact, I could not fight the urge to run to the fridge for a spoonful just now.

    What’s the secret to such great hummus you ask? Solomonov’s answer is simply tehina (more commonly known as ‘tahini’). Combined with pureed garlic, lemon juice, salt and cumin it transforms into a delicious, creamy sauce. To make ethereally smooth hummus, you combine this tehina sauce with dried chickpeas that have been soaked and boiled. Puree the two together with a dash more of cumin and salt and there you have it!

    Basic Tehina Sauce

    Solomonov recommends Soom Tahini, a Philadelphia-based company that sources sesame seeds from where they grow best: Ethiopia. You can use any brand of tehina, but steer clear of any additives. The only ingredient listed should be sesame paste.

    Yield: 4 cups


    • 1 head garlic
    • 3/4 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
    • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 cups tehina
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


    1. Break up the head of garlic with your hands and let unpeeled cloves fall into a blender or food processor.  Add the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and blend or process until pureed. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes to allow the garlic to mellow.

    2. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid. Discard the solids. Add the tehina, cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt to the lemon juice. Whisk until combined. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water at a time to thin the mixture. You will need approximately 1 and 1/2 cups of ice water to reach desired consistency. What you want is a smooth, creamy, thick sauce.

    3. Add more salt and cumin to taste (up to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons).

    Tehina will keep in the refrigerator for one week, or frozen for up to one month.

    Hummus Tehina

    You could probably get away with using canned chickpeas, but I highly recommend going the extra mile and using dried beans. If you do opt for canned, rinse and drain 2 cups chickpeas and skip ahead to step 3.

    Yield: 3 and 1/2 cups


    1 cup dried chickpeas
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 and 1/2 cups Basic Tehina Sauce
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon cumin
    Fresh parsley, chopped


    1. Place the dried chickpeas in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and cover with water. The chickpeas will double in volume, so use more water than you think. Soak the chickpeas overnight at room temperature. The next day, drain and rinse under cold water.

    2. Place the chickpeas in a large pot with 1 teaspoon baking soda and cover with at least 4 inches of cold water. Bring pot to a boil over high heat, ladling off any scum that rises to the surface. Lower to medium and simmer for about 1 hour, until chickpeas are very soft and tender. Drain.

    3. Combine the chickpeas, tehina sauce, salt and cumin in a food processor. Puree for several minutes, until very smooth.

    To serve, spread hummus in a shallow bowl, dust with paprika, top with parsley and drizzle with olive oil.

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    Kristina Beese

    About Kristina Beese

    Kristina Beese is the co-owner of The Beese Knees, a gourmet ice cream cake company in Philadelphia. With a B.S. in Photography, she styles and photographs all her confections using both digital and 35mm film. Kristina believes cooking is a labor of love and wants to inspire others to find joy in their kitchens.

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