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What is Tahini?

What is Tahini?

If you haven't tried tahini yet, I'd say you were missing out on probably one of the world's best dishes. It may be simple to make with only a few ingredients, but it is both nutritious and scrumptious at the same time.
Naomi Sarah
Back home, hummus was something I was addicted to. I remember how my mom would bring a nice tub of it every other day after work, for me to eat to my heart's, or rather stomach's, delight. Its white creaminess beckons those who wish to eat it, and although it may seem foreign to your senses, you'll start to really relish it. Hummus is something that goes best with bread, that is pita bread, which is very much like the one eaten in the Middle East, called 'Kuboos', which is Arabic bread. It is a flat bread that's been baked to perfection in the oven, and comes in brown, thick white, and thin white. For those of you who want to try it out with something else other than pita bread, I'd suggest you use toasted bread, that's been slightly buttered.

Tahini is an ingredient in hummus and is also called taheeni, tahineh and taheneh. It is a ground sesame seeds paste, that's been beaten into submission to form a creamy paste, that has a nutty flavor that brings out a dish's flavor. It is added to dishes to thicken it, like stews and soups, or in meat-based meals of fish and lamb roast, and is even used in falafel sandwiches.

For those of you wondering what that last one is, it's yet again a mouth-watering Middle Eastern food of ground chickpeas, and basic spices added to it, which are then semi deep-fried. It is usually served as an accompaniment with hummus and pita bread. Tahini can be used in any dish that requires that nice sesame seeds taste, and can also be used for many sweet dishes. Tahini ingredients are just sesame seeds and its oil and some salt with water. For those of you wanting to know about a tahini substitute, I'd suggest using sesame seeds oil, that's been used to lightly toss about sesame seeds before adding to a dish.

How to Make Hummus with Tahini Paste

We now move on to the infamous hummus recipe that you are sure to love, given its healthy and balanced-out flavorings. The ingredients are simple to find, and the preparation won't take you more than 15 to 20 minutes. Hummus can be made with or without tahini, giving you a chance to experiment with either option.

What You'll Need
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic (you can add another if you like that strong garlic-y flavor)
  • ¼ cup of liquid from a chickpeas tin
  • 16 oz of either garbanzo beans or chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoon of tahini
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons of lemon juice (after you add 3 spoons, adjust it as you'd like with more)
  • Chili flakes (for pungent flavorings if you'd like―optional)
  • Parsley
Method of Preparation

Using a blender, blitz the chickpeas/garbanzo beans, along with the ¼ cup liquid from its tin, and wait for it to reach a smooth batter-like finish. Then dump all the contents of the blender into a bowl, and make a small depression in the center of the mixture, using a spoon. Into this little opening, drop in your ingredients of tahini, salt, lemon juice, chili flakes and olive oil, and then gently fold in your ingredients when the pit is full. You can add more or less lemon juice and adjust the salt addition to your liking. There you have it, hummus, garnished with parsley on the top, and pita bread to go. You can also add in olives to allow it to give you that nice surprise to your taste buds; slice them up and toss them in. Black or green deseeded would work best.

Health Benefits of Tahini

It is a rich source of nutrients, that anyone can take advantage of, and contains essential ingredients like vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin E, and more. It is a little high on the fat scale, but nonetheless, a very appetizing and healthy alternate to junk fat. It has proteins and carbohydrates as well, and serves as a complete dish, with all its minerals and vitamins intact. It was used back in the day as an aphrodisiac, where people believed it stimulated one's sexual being, and replenished energy levels. It is good for the skin as well, making it youthful and radiant, combating the aging process as well. It also promotes good bowel movement, eliminating the chances of having constipation. One tablespoon of tahini amounts to about 89 calories.

There are many ways it can be used and merged into dishes to highlight flavors and give food that nutty punch. Introducing this healthy ingredient into dishes will prove to be a move well-made. Hearty eating!