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Recipe – Hummus and ‘Tehina’ in Israeli style

And on the first day, G-d created tehina. Tehina is sort of the Israeli mother sauce, it’s the bitter and it’s the sweet and it’s the rich, so it’s used for savory, it’s used for sweet. It’s used to make hummus, it’s used to make desserts, you know, everything.

Tehina originates in the Middle East and the Mediterranean cultures. In those parts of the world they use tehina as a staple ingredient in a lot of their cooking. They mainly use it in hummus as well as sauces, marinades, dips, and salad dressings, but also use it for baked goods and as a topping for frozen yogurt.

Recipe: Basic Tehina Sauce

The important step here is to allow the garlic and lemon juice to hang out for 10 minutes after blending but before adding the jarred tehina. This step helps stabilize the garlic and prevents it from fermenting and turning sour and aggressive, which is the problem with a lot of tehina sauces (and therefore the hummus made from them).

(Makes about 4 cups)

  • 1 head garlic
  • ¾ cup lemon juice (from 3–5 lemons)
  • Salt
  • 2 generous cups tehina
  • [½ teaspoon ground cumin]

Recipe: Hummus Tehina

By now, you’ll not be surprised to learn that the secret to great Israeli-style hummus is an obscene amount of tehina, as much as half of the recipe by weight, so it’s especially important to use the best quality you can find. Unlike Greek-style hummus, which is heavy on garlic and lemon, Israeli hummus is about the marriage of chickpeas and tehina. In fact, there are no other ingredients, just a dash of cumin. The only lemon and garlic involved is in Basic Tehina Sauce. 

(Makes 3 ½ cups)

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • [2 teaspoons baking soda]
  • 1 ½ cups Basic Tehina Sauce (see above), [plus a bit more for the topping]
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • [¼ teaspoon ground cumin]
  • [Paprika]
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Olive oil, for drizzling

Combine the chickpeas, tehina sauce, salt and cumin in a food processor. Puree the hummus for several minutes, until it is smooth and very creamy.