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1 cup dried chickpeas (Bulgarian variety is best, the smaller the better)
2/3 cup raw tahini (Lebanese or Israeli tahini is best)
1 large lemon
1 small yellow onion
3-5 garlic cloves
1/3 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking soda
salt to taste
To serve: good quality olive oil, parsley, paprika
1. Sift through the chickpeas. Sprinkle on a large plate, remove damaged grains, anything suspicious looking, etc. After sifting, wash thoroughly through a colander, until the water is transparent and completely clean.
2. Soak the chickpeas in a large bowl of water. Important: At the bottom of the bowl, sprinkle a few tablespoons of coarse salt.
Let them soak in the bowl overnight (uncovered at room temperature unless it’s summertime and very hot, in which case move the bowl into the fridge). In the morning, rinse thoroughly and soak for another few hours in clean water. No rush here, it can soak for another day this way, just replace the water every so often.
3. Wash the chickpeas in a colander again, until the water is transparent. Drain and place in a pot of clean water. Add the garlic cloves and the onion (you can skip the onion and add more garlic or add other vegetables. They are often the ”secret” of your favorite hummus: carrots, sweet potatoes or even a bit of parsley root).
4. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let the chickpeas simmer for about three quarters of an hour, until they soften a bit. Add the baking soda and cook until the grains are completely softened. Add a little salt and cook for about 1.5 hours. Baking soda speeds up the process, but can affect flavor, so you can always skip this but then keep cooking for at least 4 hours.
5. When the chickpeas are crushed easily between two fingers, they are ready. (At this point you can allow to cool and freeze some of the softened chickpeas for use in the future – in which case you’ll need to defrost it ahead of time at room temperature. Because of the long preparation time, I would recommend doubling the recipe and freezing half for next time).
6. Allow the pot to cool and refrigerate for several hours. Reserve about a tablespoon of the chickpeas for serving.
Then put the chickpeas, garlic cloves, (onion is optional) and some of the remaining cooking liquid into a food processor and blitz for about two minutes. If the paste looks too thick, add a little more liquid from the pot. If these are the frozen chickpeas, you can replace the cooking liquid with olive oil.
Add a little raw tahini and turn on the food processor for another two minutes at low speed. Add the rest of the raw tahini. Gradually add the salt, lemon, and cumin. Not all at once – be careful not to over-season. Keep tasting until it’s to your liking
7. After preparation, store in the refrigerator or eat immediately.
To serve: Spoon on to a small flat plate and create a well in the center. Add the reserved whole chickpeas to the center or some spicy pepper paste or both. Also add olive oil to the center and garnish the sides with a sprinkle of paprika and a few sprigs of parsley.