June 24, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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In search of the perfect hummus

In search of the perfect hummus

Shai Haddad loves hummus. So much so that his wife sometimes describes his passion as an obsession. A few years ago, his love for this dish led him on a quest for the perfect hummus. From his quest, the Baba Hummus Company was born and, more recently, a boutique with a concept inspired by the Middle East.


“Hummus is not a dip,” says host Shai Haddad Press in his kitchen to prepare some variations of this chickpea-based dish. In his view, in North America, hummus is most often served as a snack, but elsewhere in the world, especially in Israel, where he was born, it is a “super good,” nutritious, filling staple. , served at lunch. or dinner.

Photo by Hugo-Sebastian Aubert, Pres

Shai Haddad, founder of Baba Hummus, in the kitchen

A meal to share while guests dig into the same dish. “It was an emotional experience for me, Hummus. […] The social aspect is very strong,” says this enthusiast who loves entertaining those around him at dinner.

At our place, we want to welcome people. We love to eat. We don't eat for hunger, we eat for fun, for fun.

Shai Haddad

This mindset was instilled in him by his father, who he pays homage to through his company Baba Hummus, “baba” meaning “father” in Arabic. The father's face also appears on the brand logo. “But he's not the one making hummus. Browning mushrooms in a pan our interlocutor wants to say it's him, but it's not him.

From Israel to Montreal

Because the quest for the best Hummu is not his father's, but his own. “I've had two great loves in my life,” Shai Haddad began before correcting himself. Three great loves! You shouldn't say that to my wife. »

“First, there's my partner,” he corrected himself with a smile. But after that, it's hip-hop and hummus. »

The man, who had a musical career in Israel in the 1990s and early 2000s, after spending his adolescence in Montreal, noticed one thing when he returned to the metropolis in 2013: “There is no good hummus. » At least, not like most of the cream he eats in Israel, especially in his childhood city of Haifa. His searches were unsuccessful.

His solution? Cook hummus yourself. “But it didn't go well,” he says with a laugh.

From that moment on, he experimented a lot to find the perfect combination to create a smooth, creamy hummus. On the weekend, he prepares it for entertaining, and then tastes it to those around him.

Photo by Hugo-Sebastian Aubert, Pres

Shai Haddad's requested texture of hummus, here on a slice of red onion

For inspiration, he even went on a “hummus pilgrimage” to Israel in 2015. “At various hummus places, I asked questions to find out how it was made. But, apparently, they didn't tell me,” he said, chopping vegetables.

Screams of joy

Back home, the full-time tech worker continued to search for the perfect combination of chickpeas, tahini, water and spices.

Photo by Hugo-Sebastian Aubert, Pres

Shai Haddad says she has found the perfect hummus recipe.

Two or three times a week I try to find the perfect recipe. And there, at a certain point, I take mine Blender. [….] I make the famous hummus. I will taste it. I cried with joy.

Shai Haddad

Finally! He achieved the much desired balance.

What are the secrets of this winning recipe? “You have to choose very good chickpeas. People don't think about it. It's like coffee. Good beans don't taste the same,” answers this great espresso lover. He uses Kabuli-style chickpeas.

Opt for dried legumes and not canned ones, Shai Haddad also advises. “Otherwise it tastes like metal,” says the man, who describes himself as a “hummus maker” on his company's website. An invented term he likens to “sommelier”. “I can taste different hummus and tell that his has garlic, his has vinegar…” he laughs.

According to him, it is also important to remove the skins from the chickpeas while cooking to get the creamiest hummus. The tahini used should also be of good quality and contain only sesame seeds, he adds.

The following

Photo by Hugo-Sebastian Aubert, Pres

Using good quality, sesame-only tahini is important, says Shai Haddad.

When he began his quest for the perfect hummus, Shai Haddad didn't have commercialization in mind. Then, with the encouragement of his family, friends and colleagues, he created Baba Hummus products, available at twenty points of sale around the metropolis as well as online.

Last week, the company took another step: opening a store in Montreal's South-West. On site, customers can taste freshly made hummus made in Israel or purchase a container to go. This delicatessen also offers quality imported products such as olive oil from Italy or coffee from Lebanon.

Boutique Baba Hummus, 1487, rue Le Caron, Montreal

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