Beyond Salsa: “Masabacha” Hummus for Your BBQ Party Dip

Those who have tasted “masabacha” style hummus in Israel will know it’s a different creature from its creamier cousin: a sublime bowlful of warm, whole chickpeas in hummus and tahini, best eaten with torn pieces of fresh pita.  I’ve been to a masabacha cafe in Tel Aviv where you can choose different toppings — everything from mushrooms to ground meat and combinations of sauces.  At The Barbary in London, a pure version of masabacha is served with a side of the freshest tomato sauce and charred naan bread.

We think this is perfect dip to precede a Fourth of July BBQ: Double the proportions and slap down big bowls of it with warmed pita on the side. Whatever you do, don’t refrigerate it. It’s best enjoyed at room temperature. Soak the chickpeas the night before, and whip it up an hour before the guests arrive. Keep the whole chickpeas warm and add just before serving.

This version of “masabacha” is as perfect as you’ll find outside of Israel, by James Beard award-winning chef Michael Solomonov. Solomonov runs the acclaimed Israeli-style restaurant Zahav in Philadelphia where, among other fabulous dishes, you’ll also taste the best hummus outside of Israel. Our review of Zahav can be found here. Solomonov is also the author of the recently published cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, from which this recipe is adapted.

~ Danielle Crittenden Frum

By Michael Solomonov

Makes 4 cups.

1/2 pound dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon baking soda
7 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup tahini, at room temperature, stirred so it’s not separated
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In a medium bowl, cover the dried chickpeas with 2 inches of water and stir in the baking soda. Refrigerate the chickpeas overnight. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them under cold water.

In a medium saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 2 inches of fresh water. Add the garlic cloves and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the chickpeas are tender, about 40 minutes. Drain, reserving 10 tablespoons of the cooking water and 2 tablespoons of the chickpeas (keep warm). Rinse the chickpeas under cold water. Peel the garlic cloves.

In a food processor, puree the chickpeas with 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water, 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 6 of the garlic cloves. Add the cumin along with 1/4 cup each of the tahini and lemon juice and process until creamy. Season the hummus with salt and transfer to a serving bowl.

Wipe out the food processor. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of tahini, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of reserved cooking water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and garlic clove and puree.

Using a ladle, make an indent in the center of the hummus. Spoon in the tahini-lemon mixture. Sprinkle the hummus with the cumin and paprika. Garnish with the reserved whole chickpeas and the parsley, and serve with pita bread.


Excerpted from Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, © 2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook .Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Photo by Michael Perisco.