In 2000, Mira Berlin travelled for the first of many trips to Palestine/Israel to see her family. It was during that visit that she had the most memorable eating experience of her life—one that she would continually try and reproduce in her own kitchen—at a tiny utilitarian hummusiya in the old city of Jaffa near Tel Aviv.
Light years away from the frigid, pasty stuff she knew from home, the hummus here was luxuriously smooth and creamy, nutty and slightly bittersweet. In subsequent years, she obsessively visited hundreds of hummusiyas around Palestine/Israel each a slightly different variation — topped with sautéed mushrooms, braised lamb or simply stewed chickpeas — but all warm and beautifully silky.
Mira remains infatuated with this dish and has since spent countless hours experimenting with recipes to recreate the true hummusiya experience. She is thrilled to share what she has learned in hopes that others will, like her, discover the unexpected and transcendent delights of this classic Middle Eastern dish.
Roasted Cauliflower $6
with labneh (strained yoghurt), garlic and mint
Fresh, silky-smooth homemade chickpea hummus, served warm with a choice of toppings, warm, fluffy pita bread, white onion, some Lebanese pickles and olives, and a side of chopped salad
With braised fava beans (Ful) $12 #vegan
With slow roasted lamb shoulder $14
Extra Pita +$2
Delicate rosewater & pistachio pudding
Ever since she can remember, Mira has been interested in food and cooking. Many of her earliest memories are of licking spoons and stirring pots in her mother’s kitchen. Over the years, she has spent a lot of time in Israel in the home and kitchen of her grandmother and her great aunts and uncles. Always with a notepad in hand, Mira has collected recipes from her family and a few very kind and willing chefs she met there along the way. At home and for friends Mira regularly cooks food from the region. She is especially excited to share this hummus recipe, which she picked up from a renowned hummus restaurant in Jaffa. In Israel they eat their hummus warm as a meal with a few side dishes. She hopes Torontonians will love eating it this way as much as she does.
Every Thursday The Depanneur is an ‘open mic’ night for culinary talent in TO, where we invite guest cooks, amateur or professional, to come and make their favourite dishes.