White Bean Masabacha

Nechama Rivlin

40 minutes + 8 hours soaking

4-6 servings

Photography: Dan Peretz, Styling: Nurit Kariv

In popular Israeli culture, masabacha refers to creamy hummus with tahini and whole cooked chickpeas. White bean masabacha, a regular feature of new Israeli cooking, is a captivating combination of a Middle Eastern technique and flavors common in Jewish communities from the Balkans, especially the Jewish-Romanian community.

If you prefer a smoother masabacha, you can blend the beans in a food processor. Alternatively, blend half of the beans in a food processor and mash the remainder with a potato masher or fork, then combine the two mixtures.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb / ½ kg dry white beans
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 5 fresh sage leaves with stems
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and black pepper
  • ⅓ cup tahini paste
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • For serving (optional):
  • 4 sage leaves (stems removed)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

  1. Place the white beans into a bowl and add enough water to completely cover the beans. Soak the beans for 8 hours or overnight and then rinse and drain the beans.
  2. Transfer the beans into a large pot. Add the olive oil, sage, garlic and enough water to almost reach the top of the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and then reduce to medium heat. Simmer the beans for 30 minutes or until the beans are tender. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the beans and set aside. Drain the beans. 
  3. Reserve ½ cup of cooked beans in a small bowl and set aside for serving later. Transfer the rest of the beans to a mortar and pestle or use a potato masher to crush and process the beans until the mixture reaches a consistency similar to a coarse hummus. Add salt and pepper and mix. If the mixture is too thick and tough to mix, add 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid and stir until it loosens a bit. Add more cooking liquid 1 tablespoon at a time if needed. 
  4. Assemble the masabacha: Place the tahini paste into a bowl and add a bit of the reserved cooking liquid from the beans. Mix well until a smooth tahini dip is formed. Add the mashed beans and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. Prepare the dressing: Process the green chili and garlic in a blender, until a coarse paste is formed. Add lemon juice and salt and pulse the mixture once or twice to combine.
  6. Finish assembling the masabacha and serve: Sprinkle the reserved cooked beans over the masabacha in the serving bowl and pour the chili and garlic dressing over the beans. Optional: Fry the sage leaves in a small pan over high heat with 3 tablespoons of olive oil until they are crispy. Sprinkle the fried sage leaves and pour the frying oil over the masabacha.

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