In March, Ashok Bajaj replaced his longtime Cleveland Park bistro, Ardeo, with Sababa (3311 Connecticut Ave., NW), an Israeli dining room. It quickly became our first stop whenever we had a hummus craving. Chef Ryan Moore’s cloud-like, tahini-heavy creation takes a little planning—you start the chickpeas the night before (or you can cheat and use canned)—but we can pretty much guarantee you’ve never had a grocery tub that tastes like this.
Serves 3 to 4
Prepare the chickpeas (you can also use canned; rinse 2 cups under cold water before using):
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons baking soda, divided
- 3 cups cold water, plus more for cooking
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove garlic, halved
In a bowl, combine chickpeas, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and 3 cups water. Soak overnight. Strain and rinse under cold water. In a pot, cover chickpeas with cold water by 3 inches. Add bay leaf, garlic, and 1 tablespoon baking soda. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Skim foam. Simmer 2 hours, until chickpeas are mushy. Remove pot from heat and let chickpeas cool in the liquid. Rinse under cold water. The chickpeas will have doubled in volume; you’ll have 2 cups.
Make the tahini sauce:
- 1 whole head garlic (root and skin on)
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
- 2 cups tahini
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup cold water
In a food processor, blend head of garlic (skin and all) and lemon juice. Let sit for 20 minutes so the lemon mellows the garlic. Strain liquid into a bowl and reserve; discard garlic solids. Add cumin and salt. Slowly whisk in tahini until mixture thickens. Whisk in cold water until smooth. Set aside.
Make the hummus:
- 2 cups chickpeas
- 2 cups tahini sauce
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
In a food processor, blend all ingredients together until smooth and slightly warm to the touch. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt or more lemon, then blend more until incorporated. Serve immediately.
This article appeared in the June 2018 issue of Washingtonian.