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Chickpea paste (Hummus)

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Hummus Lina, the Best Hummus in the Old City, Jerusalem

Hummus is a common part of everyday meals in Israel. Israelis elevated Hummus to become a "national food symbol" and consume more than twice as much hummus as their Arab neighbors, according to figures by Tsabar Salads, a hummus manufacturer in Israel. Commenting on its popularity, Gil Hovav, an Israeli food editor interviewed on the BBC program Cooking in the Danger Zone, stated that "even during the intifada years Jews would sneak into the Muslim quarter just to have a vital, really genuine good humous," and noted that like many dishes considered to be Israeli national foods, hummus is actually Arab. However, he also said, commenting on Iraqi, Egyptian, Syrian or Yemeni food in Israel, that "Jews came from these countries to Israel and they brought their food with them". Many restaurants run by Mizrahi Jews and Arab citizens of Israel are dedicated to hot hummus, which may be served as chick peas softened with baking soda along with garlic, olive oil, cumin and tahini. One of the fancier hummus versions available is hummus masabacha, made with lemon-spiked tahini garnished with whole chick peas, a sprinkling of paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. Hummus is sold in restaurants, supermarkets and hummus-only shops (known in Hebrew as humusiot).

Masabcha - a variation of hummus

Masabcha (Arabic: مسبحة‎, Hebrew: מְסַבַּחָ‏ה‎‎) or m'sabcha (sometimes called "mashawsha") is a variation of hummus popular in Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

It consists of warm chickpeas served in a lukewarm sauce made of diluted hummus and tahini, served with minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and spices. A hot sauce is served on the side, or even incorporated into the dish. Being served in restaurants rather than bought pre-packaged, it is often considered a "gourmet" version of hummus.

The main difference between masabcha and hummus lies in the chickpeas' tenderness. For hummus, the chickpeas are cooked until tender, then puréed with tahini and seasoning. In masabcha, the chickpeas go through a prolonged cooking process that renders them quite soft, and then they are gently mashed with the warmed sauce. In mashawsha, the chickpeas are coarsely mashed with a mortar and pestle, and seasoned with hot spices.

Being a lighter version of hummus, masabcha can be eaten for breakfast or lunch, with or without pita bread.

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