Hummus may be among the most addictive of appetizer dips, but for many of us, it's more than that: It's a delicious obsession. A spread made of mashed chickpeas, tahini and olive oil, it was born in the Middle East, but now has taken over the world.
Efi Nahon, chef/partner of Manhattan's Taboon — named after the traditional wood-fired dome-shaped communal oven of the Middle East, which it first introduced to the U.S. more than a decade ago — is a master of making hummus. In fact, at the highly rated Barbounia and Bustan, at which he was executive chef before returning to Taboon earlier this year (which he originally opened), Nahon orchestrated popular annual hummus festivals to showcase the dish's versatility.
Just make sure to follow these rules whenever making any of the 9 recipes below:
Tahini is key – to make the best hummus, it has to be 100% toasted sesame seeds, no filler, of the highest quality, says Nahon, who uses Nazareth, imported from Israel.
No canned chickpeas, ever, says Nahon, who uses the smallest chickpeas available, about seven millimeters. "They have more flavor than larger ones. Plus they will blow up more in the soaking process, thus becoming softer when crushed / processed to make a rich, creamy paste," says Nahon. The soaking overnight is important as the soaking water adds flavor and is utilize to keep tahini for getting too hard. Cook chickpeas in same water in which they were soaked and reserve once peas are cooked and drained, says Nahon, who shares that the chickpeas are cooked when they mash easily between two fingers.
Puree chick peas well before adding tahini, says Nahon, this gets all the air out of them – again yielding best flavor and texture. Do not use a hand mixer to blend puree chickpeas with tahini; its strength, thickness and tendency to harden up will break the motor. " Have soaking / cooking water available to add to chick peas and hummus to make sure the tahini doesn't get too hard," Nahon says, and don't use olive oil in the tahini, either to loosen texture or for flavor; not necessary and effects the integrity of the hummus. If you want to add olive oil, drizzle on top