Hummus in Perspective: Chickpea Varieties

The secret for the perfect hummus is combining the best tahini with the right variety of chickpeas. But which one to use? The correct answer is #2.

I’ve been asked more than once already what kind of chickpeas is best for hummus, msabbha and other hummus-based dishes. The short answer is: the smallest you can find. This is the longer, more useful answer.

A few people said here us would be very helpful is I actually showed how propper chickpeas should look like. So there you are (better late etc.): a collection of my favorite legumes (tips: the one you want for your hummus is no. 2).

Chickpeas, ful and friends.


[1] Mexican Chickpea. a.k.a Grabanzo Bean or Spanish Chickpea. This variety isn’t very good for hummus. It’s good other dishes, though, such as Greek chickpea soup, rice with chickpeas and other recipes I’ll share with you in the future. Read more

Hummus in Tel-Aviv

The hummus really has to be great in order to be the center of a complete meal. But when it is, and when accompanied with a few other local treasures, it makes some gourmet dishes taste like fast-food.

The residents of Tel-Aviv could always go for their hummus to Jaffa, which is minutes away by car. They still do, and some of them would go for their beloved hummus as far as Old Jerusalem or the old city of Acre, but it sometimes nice your hummus place just around the corner, and in recent years there are many options.

Tel-Aviv is my home town and I have many superb pictures of it’s hummus and hummus places, which I’ll probebly show in future posts. This time I wanted to show this one and say a few things about it:

hummus-ful with falafel and chips

Though not very common in this particular presentation, the combination of hummus or in this case hummus-foul (click for the recipe), falafel (ditto) and potato chips is mandatory in most hummus places in Israel today, especially in Tel-Aviv.

With a bunch of luscious pitas a nice salad on the side, and a cold drink, it’s a hit – a perfectly tasteful and nutritios meal, which in this case (Beit Ha-hummus, 119 Hashmonaim st.) costs as little as 24 NIS ($6.70 / 4.2 euro). You can usually have these with a nice piece of grilled meat of some kind, but you don’t really have to.

The Hummus Revolution

For me, hummus is more than a dish. It’s a passion, an ideology and a way of life. Also, I believe hummus to be an Archimedic point, from which things may turn and change for many people.

People had asked me, on many occasions, why did I decide to write about hummus. As if there aren’t other burning issues – especially in the middle-east, where I happen to live – if you know what I mean.

True, there are things that might seem more important. But for me, as I already stated once or twice in the past, hummus is more than a dish. It’s a passion, an ideology and a way of life. Also, I believe hummus to be an Archimedic point, from which things may change for many people.

Yeah, I know, this sounds pretentious. But let me argue my points and than decide. Read more

Anti-Bush Voting for Hummus

Some of you may have already seen this hummus-related-humor video; Elon Gold, a stand-up comedian, is talking about hummus and politic. Well, I decided I have some things toI want say about it. And for those of you who didn’t: be patient. It’s pretty annoying in the beginning, only to become VERY funny in the end.

Gold’s theory explains how come the Palestinians voted for hammas, and American elected George W. Bush. It sound perfectly reasonable – and very funny, although you might get a little upset at first (Especialy if you didn’t vote to George W. Bush.

Watch it, then read the rest of the post.

So, ironically, it turns out that Gold is an Anti-Bush activist
Or some would probably classify him that way.I’m not that much into Anti-Bush humor myself (in Israel we have many evil politicians of ourself). Also, I don’t think W. is as stupid as some people say he is, which make some of the Anti-Bush jokes less funny and actually pretty dumb.I do think, though, that George Bush Junior is the worst president US could ever had such a time in history, when it could benefit from being not only bold, but also smart and humane and generous – which it isn’t. And that’s bad for people all over the world, not just for Liberal Democrats in Americans.Plus, I saw Fahrenheit 911 [Trailer], and “Supersize America”, and read Joseph Stiglitz‘s book (which I might talk about more in a future post). I hate Neo-Conservatism and Evangelism and Fascism – no matter what form they take, and if they occur in Israel, the US or any other place.

So is eating hummus an Anti-Bush act? In some way it is, at list for me – and maybe also for Gold, I don’t know. Because it reminds us how Palestinians and Israelis – as well as rich and poor people or Muslims and Christians – are already bound together, so they ought to have to learn to live with one another.

Bushism is about making other people more like you – so it’s about McDonald’s hamburgers. Anti-Bush kind of thought is about eating hummus, which is a demonstration of our rewarding co-existence with people and cultures different of ours.

Above all, in my eyes Elon Gold’s stand-up is beautifully naive, in a good way. His “characters” are good people, from both sides, who can’t understand whygood people elect bad leaders. This is how many people in Israel also feel about our current leadership, and also about the given alternatives.

Israeli Salad recipe

Low in calories, very simple to make, and extremely tasty and nutritionally rich, the Israeli salad is a great addition to any food table.

Until recent years, I didn’t even know it is an “Israeli Salad”. For me it was just a “salad”, the salad that me and everybody else I know ate at home, at list once a day (which is, by the way, pretty similar to other salads eaten in Italy or Greece). But that’s probably because I live in Israel.

True, in most countries until 10-15 years ago, there’s no way you could find vegetables like lettuce, cucumber and tomato in the same greengrocery. Olive oil? Outside some Mediterranean places and maybe California or something, who knew what that was?

Israeli Salad

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Who stole my hummus?

Hummus, Falafel and Shawarma ARE Arab foods. And they are also Israeli foods. Those who claim differently, too often lack the knowledge or the wisdom to see things as they really are.

I already addressed the issue of subjecting hummus and other middle-eastern foods to political disputes. You can read all about it in my post Hummus, is it Israeli or Arab. But I can’t help commenting on this piece, a column by George S. Hishmeh titled ” The undeclared war on Arab cuisine”.

Hishmeh says: “My niece, Irene, called me a few days ago indignant that some of her American friends, including some Jews, keep describing typical Arab foods such as falafel, hummus and shawarma, among others, as Israeli. She wanted to know how she can convince them this is not the case.” Read more

Hummus Abu Dahbi, the Reggae hummus

In the middle of Tel-Aviv, a tense and busy city of business, politics, cafes and clubbing, a place of good hummus and good music is more then a haven – it’s oasis.

In the case of “Abu Dahbi”, it’s a Galilee-style hummus (as well as Meshawsha, Mahluta, Hummus-Ful and Falafel), accompanied with black music. Mostly hip-hop and reggae, some from abroad – including classics – and some of local artists.

Gal Eilam, one of the owners, says that the rhythm of reggae is the rhythm of heart-bits. His business partner, Samir Ayub, says the most important thing for him is that their clients will leave the place full and happy – and this why the portions are so large, and there’s a refill if you’re still hungry.

I don’t know which of these two sides of the same place make it so calm and friendly, but this is the place I chose to be interviewed in last week, talking on TV about hummus and The Hummus Blog (you can read all about it in my previous post, The Fame of Hummus). There are many hummus places I like, but this one really feels like a safe haven. In some strange way, it reminds me of Berlin.

If you get to Tel-Aviv, don’t miss it:
Hummus Abu Dahbi, 81 King George Tel-Aviv (10AM-8PM I think)

And here’s a beautiful video clip of Axum, a hip-hop twosome, taken at Abu Dahbi’s. It is mostly a Homage to some Israeli artists and cult-movies, and the words are in Hebrew, but I think you’d enjoy it anyhow.

Maker of the video is Asaf Billet (who’s been awarded Best Director of The Israeli Music Channel Awards 2007). You can download the full WMV version (44MB) from his site.

(BTW, I wasn’t even hungry before the shooting, but could not help myself from eating all the hummus in my plate only to regret later for not taking some back home with me.)

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