Heavenly Hummus

Miso makes this hummus something special.

Miso makes this hummus something special.

There are few things I’m fanatical about.

Hummus happens to be one of them.

It all started when I tried the one at Oren’s Hummus Shop in Palo Alto. It took awhile, though, since the small cafe always has a line out the door, no matter what time of day or night. But it also has tubs of hummus to grab-and-go at a refrigerator case.

After one taste, I was hooked for life. And no other hummus would do.

That’s because Oren’s hummus is the smoothest, creamiest version ever. It’s like the creme brulee of hummus. And I can eat it by the spoonful — non-stop.

The Palo Alto shop, as well as the second one in downtown Mountain View, was opened by start-up investor Oren Dobronsky, who is so finicky about his hummus that he imports the garbanzo beans from Israel.

So, when I spied a recipe for “Hummus with White Miso,” I was intrigued, but dubious. Intrigued, because I wondered what the addition of miso would impart. And dubious, well, because how could it be better than the hummus at Oren’s?

Seven Spoons

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Seven Spoons” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It was written by Tara O’Brady, a celebrated food blogger in Canada.

The book is filled with straightforward recipes that you just want to make. Things like “Slow Baked Salmon with Butter Beans,” “Bee-Stung Fried Chicken” (yes, tossed with spicy honey butter), and “Plum Macaroon Cake” beckon with deliciousness. Then, there’s O’Brady’s winsome voice permeating it all, with warmth that just makes you want to get going cooking alongside her.

“Hummus with White Miso” is like a kicked-up version of the traditional mezze dip. The miso adds a real umami kick, a bit of saltiness and savoriness that’s quite complementary. What a genius addition.

There’s also a handful of almonds in it, which amps up the nuttiness already provided by the tahini.

Cooked or canned chickpeas get blitzed in a food processor with the miso, tahini, garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon juice. I’m not quite sure what the ice water does scientifically, but drizzling it into the mixture with the motor running turns the dry, lumpy mixture of chickpeas into something surprisingly fluffy and smooth.

Yes, nearly as smooth as Oren’s hummus.

Which is why this recipe is a definite keeper.

One smooth operator.

One smooth operator.

Hummus with White Miso

(Makes about 2 1/2 cups)

1/4 cup blanched almonds

2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (15-ounce) can

1/4 cup well-stirred tahini

1/4 cup white (shiro) miso

2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Juice from 1/2 lemon, approximately 2 tablespoons, plus more as needed

About 1/2 cup ice water

Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Toasted sesame oil (optional)

Serving Options:

Extra-virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt

Coriander seeds or cumin seeds, roasted and cracked

Ground sumac or za’atar

Toasted sesame seeds, white or black, or pine nuts

Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley and chives

Assorted sprouts (such as mung bean, broccoli, alfalfa)

Fried shallots

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the almonds into a fine meal. Add the chickpeas and run the machine again, stopping and scraping down the sides occasionally, until the beans are crumbly and light. Pour in the tahini, miso, garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice. Blend again for 2 minutes or so, then scrape down the sides of the machine.

Switch on the motor and start drizzling in enough water so that the hummus billows up, aerated and fluffy. Depending on the beans, you may not use all of the water, or you might need more. Let the machine go for 2 to 3 minutes after the consistency seems right. Taste and check for seasoning. For a roasted accent, drip in some toasted sesame oil.

Let the hummus sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving, or refrigerate in a covered container for up to 3 days. Serve with the garnishes of your choosing.

From “Seven Spoons” by Tara O’Brady


Another Dip to Enjoy: Roasted Carrot Dip


And: Yogurt and Spinach Dip in the Persian Manner


Another Use For Miso: Romaine Hearts with Miso-Mustard Dressing


And: Miso-Glazed Fish


And: Sake-Steamed Kabocha with Miso

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