Curried Onion and Cauliflower Hummus

Classic hummus topped with a tangle of fried curried onion and cauliflower is one of our favorite things.

Riffing on the dish created by Alon Shaya for his New Orleans restaurant.

Curried Onion and Cauliflower Hummus

Prep Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 13 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8
Author Tania Van Pelt


For the Hummus

  • 1 cup dry chickpeas soaked overnight (8-12 hours)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda divided
  • 1 cup tahini plus more as needed
  • 2-3 lemons - ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt plus more as needed, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 7 tablespoons ice water as needed, to thin the chickpea mixture

For the Onion/Cauliflower Mixture

  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1 ½ cups cauliflower cut into ½ -inch florets (about 1/2 pound)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
  • Sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely cracked pink peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon mint chopped, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped, for garnish
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling


  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in water with a teaspoon of baking soda, covered by at least 2 inches of water. Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  2. Combine chickpeas with remaining 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil, skimming surface as needed. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until chickpeas are tender and really falling apart, 45–60 minutes. Drain; set aside.
  3. While the chickpeas cook, process garlic, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until coarsely puréed; let sit 10 minutes to allow garlic to mellow.
  4. Strain garlic mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing on solids to release as much liquid as possible. Keep the liquid, discard the solids. Return lemony, garlic-infused liquid to food processor.
  5. Add the cooked chickpeas, cumin, and tahini to the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the juice from the third lemon and with motor running, add ice water by the tablespoonful and process until mixture is very smooth, pale, and thick. Process the mixture until creamy, about 4 minutes.
  6. Thin with more water if you prefer a looser consistency; taste and season with salt, more lemon juice, and more cumin and a pinch of cayenne.
  7. In a skillet, heat 1/4 cup of canola oil. Add the cauliflower and fry over moderately high heat, stirring, until tender and deeply browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined bowl to drain. Add 1 teaspoon of the curry powder and toss well. Season with salt and toss again.
  8. Pour off most of the oil from the skillet, reserving enough to fry the onion. Add the onion and a big pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just starting to soften and brown in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the cracked peppercorns and the remaining 1 teaspoon of curry powder and cook, stirring, until 
fragrant, about 3 minutes. Season with salt.
  9. Spoon the hummus into a bowl and top with the onion and cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with fresh mint and cilantro and serve.

Recipe Notes

Using dried chickpeas and soaking them overnight makes this hummus taste almost 100% better than using canned chickpeas. And, it requires very little effort, just a little foresight.

Adapted from Shaya Restaurant