Tahini is a traditional Arabic paste used in various dishes. Made out of lightly roasted sesame seeds, Tahini is commonly used in North African, West, and East Asian culinary preparations. It is the main ingredient of hummus, which is a dip made out of mashed chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic, and tahini. The earliest record of tahini has been anonymously made in 13th century Arabic cookbook called Kitab Wasf al-Atima al-Mutada. It is believed that tahini originated in ancient Persia as ardeh, or the 'holy food'. Tahini paste can be made at home by using hulled sesame seeds. With a variant of whole seeds, stronger taste of tahini can be obtained.
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup tepid water
- Spread the sesame seeds over a preheated tray and toast them for about 15 minutes. Stir them constantly to prevent them from burning, as it will ruin the taste completely.
- Once toasted, remove the seeds from the tray and allow them to cool down.
- Put the cooled seeds in the food processor and add half a cup of oil to the blender.
- Blend the oil and seeds mixture on a high speed for a minute.
- Take a break, to clean the sides with a spatula and getting the scattered mixture back on the paste.
- Blend it till it is smooth. Add water if needed.
- Once done, add salt for taste and empty it out in an air tight jar.
- Tahini can be stored in a refrigerator for weeks.
Facts About the Paste
Even though tahini has a high calorie count, it benefits health in more ways than one. To start with, the paste is a rich source of proteins and vitamin B. The abundance of essential fatty acids in tahini is a great way of keeping your skin healthy and young. The best thing about this paste is that it has unsaturated fat, as against saturated fat, which is harmful to the body. It also contains vitamin E in large proportions, which reduces the process of aging. The other advantage of consuming tahini is that it is an excellent source of amino acid called Methionine. Methionine, brings about liver detoxification, which in turn helps in absorption of essential amino acids.
With the ease with which one can make tahini, the question buying this paste is eliminated. In case you can't make it at home, this paste can be found in any departmental store, near your place. It is oftentimes used as a dip in itself. Famously known as 'peanut butter alternative', tahini can be used as a bread spread as well. A very common ingredient in Hummus, tahini, tastes the best when eaten with flat breads or pitta breads. Another Middle Eastern dish known as Baba Ganoush, uses this to complement itself. In a few recipes, this paste can so be used to make desserts and soups.
Though the dish hails from Middle East, it has become extremely popular in the Western cuisine for its neutrality of taste. You can make tahini for a potluck or just a normal dip for chips and fish. Either way, it would always enhance the taste!