Dizengoff Hummus at Home

In July, I went to Philly for the weekend to hang out with H and my cousin and her husband. It was a crazy hot weekend filled with super delicious food. One of the standouts for me was a trip to Dizengoff. The hummus is unreal and definitely the best hummus I've ever had and I knew I had to try and recreate it at home. Even though Philly's only a short drive away, it's hardly close enough to satisfy the unruly hummus cravings stirring in my tummy on a whim.

After a bit of googling, I found a recipe on Stovetop Story referring to Dizengoff's hummus. Julie took a class with Elaine Gardner (the chef at Dizengoff) and learned how to make the infamous hummus. I made a few small changes to the recipe. I decided to use dried chickpeas instead of canned because I thought they'd make a creamier hummus. Plus, canned chickpeas tend to have a slightly acidic taste that I wanted to avoid. I also added a good glug of olive oil, which I think added a bit of unctuousness and body. All-in-all, the final product was a definite winner. It's definitely more time consuming than my canned chickpea version of hummus but certainly worth the while.

I also took a shot at making a stewed cumin chicken and a spicy harif to go with the meal. I know that Dizengoff makes different hummus toppings daily, but the chicken was what we ordered and I really enjoyed it. The homemade harif wasn't quite as spot on but it was still a deliciously smoky condiment so definitely worth sharing. And lucky for me, I'm enjoying a bowl of this for lunch as I write so it's a little bit like inception. Plus, it means I'm not drooling with envy over my previous meal the way I usually am.

There are several components to this post but if you're impatient, you can scroll all the way down to the bottom for the individual recipe pages.
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon baking soda
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
¼ cup tahini
juice of ½ lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
+ olive oil
+ paprika
+ chopped parsley

1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon + ¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 dried chipotle chile or 2 dried ancho chile peppers
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon golden syrup

cumin chicken
2 chicken thighs
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup chicken stock

the fixin's
4 flatbread pitas
cucumber and red onion salad

The first step, and the one that takes the longest, is the soaking of the dried chickpeas. Like I mentioned above, using dried chickpeas yields a much creamier hummus with less acidity. So, grab a bowl, toss in the peas and a spoonful of baking soda and top off with a good amount of water. The chickpeas will expand so make sure there's at least an inch of water above them. Then, pop the whole thing in the refrigerator to sit for 24 hours.
About two to three hours shy of the 24 hour soaking, I'll start getting the other components of the meal ready. And at this point, if you are so inclined, you can make a batch of tahini. Or, if you're using store bought, take it out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
This is a great time to get started on the chicken. Basically, it's the easiest thing ever. Just grab all of the ingredients and chuck them into a slow cooker and turn it on low. Leave to cook for 2 hours until the chicken is tender. The chicken should be so tender that the action of barely stirring the pot with a fork is enough to shred the meat.

If you don't have a slow cooker, you can also do this on the stovetop. Use a small saucepan and allow the chicken to simmer on a super low heat.
Okay, next up, let's talk harif. Harif is a general term that means "hot sauce" and the recipe is up to the cook. While H and I were at Dizengoff, we were generously dolloping spoonfuls of a dark sauce onto our hummus. At the end of the meal, we asked the girl at the counter to explain the sauce and she called it "harif" and said theirs was a blend of burnt onion, chiles, lemon, and salt. So, I played with the same ingredients to make my harif.
Dizengoff's harif had an unmistakable smoky flavor so I assumed the chiles were smoked chiles so I used a chipotle pepper (which is a dried jalapeno).

To make the sauce, start by soaking the peppers in warm water until they're reconstituted.
On a foil-lined sheet tray, toss the onions and garlic in olive oil and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Roast in a high heat broiler for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, until blackened. Honestly, I think I could have cooked my onions a little more aggressively because Dizengoff's harif was a sticky black mass. I'll try it next time and report back.
To assemble the sauce, pop the pepper, burnt onions and garlic, salt, chili powder, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, golden syrup, and a good glug of olive oil into a food processor. The golden syrup just adds a little more caramelly sweetness that really rounds out the hot sauce.
Pulse until the sauce is chunky but spoonable. That's the sauce, done.
And, if you're willing, about 1 hour before the 24 hour chickpea soak is up, make a batch of flatbread pita. This time, I substituted ½ cup of bread flour with ½ cup whole wheat flour, just because the Dizengoff flatbread had an unmistakably wheaty flavor.
And one last step before the hummus-making is the cucumber and onion salad. Seriously, all it takes is a little diced cucumber and diced red onion and a squeeze of lemon juice to lightly pickle the vegetables. Done.
Now, let's talk hummus. This is what the soaked chickpeas look like. They're dramatically puffed up compared to the tiny little dried beans.
To cook the chickpeas, rinse off the baking soda and then pop them into a saucepan with the garlic (unpeeled). Top off with water and then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the peas are falling apart and tender. You may have to top off the peas with a little more water, as it cooks off. I like to have a tea kettle of boiling water on hand for just such an occasion.
Now, let's talk the hummus assembly.
Drain the chickpeas but reserve the cooking water and peel the garlic cloves. Add the chickpeas (reserving a few for garnish), garlic, tahini, lemon juice, a little of the reserved cooking water, olive oil, cumin, and salt to a food processor and pulse until super smooth and creamy. Give the hummus a taste and add more seasonings and/or cooking water as necessary. Keep in mind that if you plan on refrigerating any of the hummus, it will get firmer when it's chilled so perhaps add a little more cooking liquid than you think you need.
For garnish, fry a few chickpeas in olive oil with a little paprika and cayenne pepper.
By now, you should have all of the elements ready and you can start assembling the meal. Grab a bowl and smear in a good scoop of hummus.
Top the hummus with a generous pile of chicken and a sprinkle of the whole chickpeas. Serve the bowl with freshly baked pita, cucumber & onion salad, cornichons, and the smoky harif.
I like to eat this deliciousness with my hands. I tear off a piece of pita, swipe on some hummus, nestle on some chicken, top with cucumber and onion, and finish with a little harif. This stuff is so good and so addictive. It packs incredibly well for lunch but would also make a delicious dinner. I mean, the chicken adds enough oomph that this would definitely make a substantial dinner.

The hummus is incredibly creamy and nutty and there's just something so decadent about it. But then, you think about the ingredients and they're all pretty good for you so it's on my list of guilt-free but filling and delicious meals. It's become a favorite in the house and I can't wait to make it again.
Here are the recipe pages: