I don’t have the guts to declare one place with the best hummus. I will decidedly write, though, that I eat a lot of hummus, and taste test it the way some do with wines, (albeit a lot cheaper). And, I will argue that Hummus Yossef, from Pardes Hanna Karkur–and now with some locations in Tel Aviv–has some of the best hummus I have ever eaten. It is made fresh for each customer (check out their Cuisinart blenders whirring by the cash register) At its modest first shop—with an outdoor seating area that protected us from the searing sun with intensely blowing fans and a tarp roof –a bowl of Galilee-style hummus was presented to us. It is creamy, very lemony hummus, and heavy enough to seemingly cut it with a knife. Presented in a deep, nearly overflowing bowl, the hummus is immersed in a thorough amount of fruity olive oil, while flecked with whole chickpeas, drizzled with green delightful spicy schug, pillowy drops of tahini, and sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley. The hummus decidedly strong flavors were enhanced by the perfect balance of spicy, mild and fruity liquid toppings. It made a regular “plain” bowl of hummus seem almost bland or naked in comparison.
It was served was a salad of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, mixed with toasted almonds, chickpeas and a heavy tahini sauce. This salad, though, didn’t play second fiddle to the hummus, as it was delicious in its own right. Indulging in both the salad and hummus with Yossef’s thick, spongy, thick warm pita made for a delectable summer afternoon meal. An added bonus was their vegan kubbeh, another sign of growing vegan movement across Israel.
I can’t even begin to try to replicate the hummus beyond sharing the visible ingredients (see photos), nor did I dare to ask for a recipe. The last time I did ask for a hummus recipe was at a simple Tel Aviv falafel shop. The owner excitedly told me, yes, of course, he would share his secret recipe with me. And with a restrained smile he said, all I needed to do to get it was to go into business with him and open a shop in the US. At Hummus Yosef, it turns out, I shouldn’t have been so intimidated as this hummus reviewer did ask and was told that two key ingredients are Yona tahini and Barzilai chickpeas.
However, I did try my best to recreate the incredibly refreshing salad. With such good hummus, all of their other dishes match in deliciousness.
1 cucumber, finely chopped and seeded
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped and seeded
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 garlic cloves
3/4 ice cold or hot water
- Finely chop tomatoes and cucumbers, removing seeds.
- Put in a bowl and add chickpeas. Mix together and drizzle with a bit of olive oil
- Prepare tahini mixing together all ingredients and putting in a blender or whisking until smooth.
- Drizzle tahini to mixture, and top with toasted slivered almonds and parsley.