Zahav's Genius Hummus
Easter was a time every year we visited our Armenian Apostolic Church. It's a small community in Syracuse, but the following is strong and spans generations, kept alive by families who share a loyalty to tradition, Armenia, and their faith. We would be annual guests, popping in for the last of the 3 hour service in a new spring outfit, hopeful they were taking it easy on the incense distribution. Collectively we could probably say 6 things in Armenian, despite our grandparents fluency and nearly 3 decades of sermons. We were just onlookers, living in a time when people no longer value commitment to religion and a belief system the way they once did. At the end of the service, we would celebrate with tables and tables of food brought by members of the parish. Hummus, pots of stewed lamb you could swim in, fasolatha, baklava, choreg. Some of the best Armenian dishes.
We don't regularly attend church, we don't practice the way we could. But when we picked this recipe, we picked something that we looked forward to eating every year. Not just because the food was authentic and rare, recipes that had been passed down to the children and grandchildren of Armenian immigrants who fought to be here, but because it meant we could sit with our grandfather, crack eggs, and have another Easter together.
Despite the way the world has changed, the way our priorities may have shifted from those who came before us, tradition and faith can still be found everywhere. Even in hummus.
Zahav's Genius Hummus
Adapted from Food52
Yield - 4 cups
1 cup dried chickpeas
2 tsp. baking soda, divided
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
2/3 cup quality tahini
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Olive oil and paprika for serving
Place the chickpeas in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the baking soda and cover with plenty of water. The next day, drain the chickpeas and rinse under cold water.
Place the chickpeas in a large pot with the remaining 1 teaspoon baking soda and add cold water to cover by at least 4 inches. Bring the chickpeas to a boil over high heat, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot, and continue to simmer for about 1 hour, until the chickpeas are completely tender. Then simmer them a little more. The secret to creamy hummus is overcooked chickpeas; don't worry if they are mushy and falling apart. Drain.
Meanwhile, process garlic, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until coarsely puréed; let sit 10 minutes.
Strain garlic mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing on solids to release as much liquid as possible. Return liquid to food processor; discard solids. Add tahini and pulse to combine. With motor running, add 1/4 cup ice water by the tablespoonful and process (it may thicken up at first) until mixture is very smooth, pale, and thick. Add chickpeas and cumin and puree for several minutes, until the hummus is smooth and very creamy. Purée 1 minute more. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, lemon juice, and cumin if you like.
To serve, top with paprika and drizzle generously with oil.