I wanted to make hummus, so I asked Shekhar if I could get sesame paste (tahini) here in rural India. He said no, only sesame seeds. So I decided to learn how to make my own tahini (via the master of knowledge, Google).
A few days later, I made delicious tahini!
When I was done and tasted it, I wasn’t sure what to think because I actually had never tasted tahini on its own, only mixed in other things like hummus.
If you really like sesame seeds, then I guess you would enjoy it by spoonfuls. But I like the idea of incorporating it in different ways with different ingredients.
I will share my recipe, and then many ideas for tahini uses.
p.s. It’s really easy to make!
First, toast the seeds, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.
Let cool, or if you are a bit weird like me, force cool by placing them under the ceiling fan.
Blend/process with olive oil until a smooth paste or desired consistency forms.
Looks like a yummy nutty sesame paste.
Store in tightly covered jar.
Recipe: Homemade Tahini
Olive or Sesame or Peanut Oil (I used olive oil) About 1/4 cup per 1 cup of seeds
Toast the sesame seeds for about 5 minutes in a (350°F) preheated oven or in a dry skillet over medium heat on the stove for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Shaking/stirring frequently.
Add the sesame seeds to the blender or food processor along with the oil and process to a smooth paste or until desired consistency scraping the sides and adding oil or water as needed.
Store in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator.
How long will tahini keep?
Technically, you don’t need to refrigerate tahini (like you don’t refrigerate peanut butter) but it will keep longer if you do. Tahini will keep refrigerated for about 6 months (maybe more). Like most nut butters, oil separation is normal, and the paste underneath might become quite hard in cold temperatures if it hasn’t been stirred in a while. If it tastes and smells rancid, then it is time for a new batch. Like nut butters, it will taste rancid before it is spoiled enough to be dangerous to your health.
What can you do with Tahini?
- Make Hummus (I will be making some sometime soon, and I will post my recipe.)
- Dip veggies in it. For a simple healthier snack reach for tahini instead of ranch. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper or hot sauce for extra flavor.
- Spread it on toast. Best on whole wheat bread, and top it with some honey for a simple and healthy breakfast.
- Make a dressing. Combine tahini with some extra virgin olive oil and water to required consistency, add equal parts of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, and maybe 2 tsps of grated ginger. Drizzle over a simple salad and enjoy.
- Make [Tahini] Sesame Halvah! Surprise guests or friends with a gift of this Middle Eastern sweetmeat. Halvah or halva, is one of the most nutritious sweets you can make. It is delicious and it is open for interpretation by adding different ingredients like vanilla, chocolate and coffee.
- Make Tahini Yogurt Sauce. Per tbsp of tahini, use 2 tbsp of yogurt, add lemon juice, garlic and salt. Use as an alternative to mayo or on chicken salad or other veggies.
- Use it as a burger condiment. How good are sesame buns with burgers? Spread some tahini on the patty for extra sesame flavor, straight or with some lemon juice, and roasted garlic. Add some feta and cucumbers for an awesome Mediterranean burger.
- Bake cookies. You can use tahini in place of peanut butter or other nut butters to make cookies.
- Add it to coleslaw, deviled eggs or tuna salad.
- Toss it in cold noodle salads.
- Top your next falafel with it.
After all these ideas, you have to go make some tahini, am I right?
I do not know why this isn’t a popular thing, with the nutritional value of the seeds, the simplicity of the recipe, and its many uses, why don’t more people know about this?
I know I am excited to use it more.