Mohammad Ikermawi makes one of the best hummus in Jerusalem, and has two secrets that you don't know to make it perfect

The restaurant Ikermawi It is located opposite the Damascus gate of Jerusalem. Since its opening in 1952, it has witnessed countless conflicts and even a border change: in its opening the territory belonged to East Jerusalem, which Jordan annexed after the proclamation of the State of Israel, in 1948, but after the War of the six days, in 1967, passed into Israeli hands.

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It cannot be said, by any means, that the conflict is solved today, but, if we ignore the strong police presence, everything looks quiet in Jerusalem. At least as quiet as Jerusalem can be, a city full of neighbors not always well-off that is also invaded daily by tourists and pilgrims of all fur.

Two women sell spices and vegetables in the Arab quarter of Jerusalem, a coming and going of people of all fur.

No one would say that this week there has been a missile exchange between Israel and the Gaza Strip, in addition to several military operations, which have resulted, for the moment, with the death of an Israeli officer and ten Palestinian militiamen. It is the largest war escalation since 2014 .. Meanwhile, just 76 kilometers away, Jews and Arabs share the tables where Muhammad Ikermawi Prepare the hummus according to an old Syrian recipe, inherited from the previous owner of the premises. And on this they seem to agree: It’s great.

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Ikermawi, who speaks fantastic English, has been visited today by a group of journalists from all over the world invited by Israel to cover the Open Restaurants festival, which is being held this week in Jerusalem. We are all surprised that he prepares hummus with some ingredients that are not usual in the recipe that is usually followed, at least in the West. But they work great.

The only dishes served in Ikermawi: hummus, pita bread, harissa, pickles and falafel.

The Cook It has several basic rules That ensures always comply. These are his secrets:

1. Parsley is the most important

I had never heard of parsley as an ingredient in hummus, but our host insists that it is the most important thing: “Without parsley it doesn't taste like hummus. It's what changes everything, it's a different world. You don't notice it, although it takes a lot, but thanks to it we make it very smooth. ”

Ikermawi adds to the mix too fresh spicy chili, from a local variety of green color. No paprika, he says (which is what many people use here). The rest are the known ingredients: chickpeas, tahina, garlic, lemon, olive oil, pepper and salt. The quantities cannot tell us, because He prepares everything by eye.

The cook insists on using a good olive oil and small chickpeas, such as those grown locally in Palestine. Tahini, pasta made with sesame seeds and water omnipresent in Arab cuisine, buy it directly from the factory, and although it lasts a long time without getting bad, it ensures that it is better to use a relatively fresh one.

This is the picture right in front of the restaurant.

2. Never put in the fridge

Although chickpeas can be cooked and crushed in advance and even mixed with tahina, according to Ikermawi Garlic and lemon can only be added just before of being consumed

"Garlic and lemon are the ones that make hummus, work together and separately when you mix them," explains the cook. “The lemon after a minute makes it taste different. Every minute counts and the flavor in an hour changes completely. ”

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In Ikermawi there is only a fridge for cold drinks. The hummus is prepared on the spot, every hour, and when the pot of each batch is dispatched, what was given until the next is over. "If you store it in a refrigerator it is not fresh anymore, I do not sell it," says the cook.