David experiments with new formulations while working as a chemist, and he experiments with new recipes while at home in his kitchen.
Homemade Tahini Paste Recipe
In all honesty, hummus is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of tahini. I’m sure many of you are guilty of that too. Well, other than hummus, tahini can be used in many different Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and even Asian recipes.
This versatile and super easy to make paste can be used in yogurt tahini sauces (ideal with falafels), tahini dips or tahini salad dressings, it can be combined with a little lemon juice and fresh mint to make a nutty-zingy tahini pesto and it can prove ideal as a cashew or peanut substitute in Asian noodle recipes. Heck, if you like peanut butter cookies, you could even make tahini cookies! (Maybe a more mature and la-de-da version of the humble peanut cookie.)
Personally, I’m a little obsessed with hummus, I love making it at home and even experimenting with different flavours. Hummus needs tahini—it is essentially what gives it its flavour. In the not-so-distant past, I’d often go to my local Asian store and buy a tub of ready-made tahini, and although it did the job, I often found it expensive to buy in the first place and it went too fast. Another issue with the store-bought tahini was that, in my option, it wasn’t strong or even pungent enough for my taste buds. These are a couple of reasons why I now make my own at home.
To make tahini, you just need two ingredients. Yes, there are only two ingredients in tahini, and a food processor (and a frying pan, but sure everyone has one). The great thing about making tahini paste at home is that you can decide the quantity you want to make and, most importantly, you can decide how intense you want the flavour to be. The flavour of the tahini all depends on the ‘browning’ step of the sesame seeds. By this I mean how long you toast the sesame seeds in the frying pan.
If you like your tahini paste subtly fragranced and lightly coloured, then toast the seeds briefly. If you, like me, enjoy your tahini aromatic and of a darker colour, then toast your sesame seeds for longer. Just please do not burn the little chaps! This can happen so quickly. So please read on if you would like to try out my super easy and quick homemade tahini recipe.
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Makes enough to fill a 340g 12 oz Jar (Lots!)
- 1 cup (140 grams) white sesame seeds (hulled), buy in local Asian store, it's way cheaper!
- 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) lightly flavoured oil, vegetable oil, sunflower, canola or a very light olive oil
How to Make Tahini Paste
- Heat your frying pan on a medium to high heat. Add the sesame seeds and stir frequently. You want to achieve a golden colour. As I mentioned previously, you can aim for a lighter or darker colour depending on your taste. (Note: I often use a spoon to stir/mix while using a lifting motion. The idea behind this is that the seeds at the bottom will toast very quickly and it's good to lift them to the top while mixing.)
- Keep an eye on the overall colour of your sesame seeds. If you feel that they may be toasting too quickly, remove pan from the heat and continue to stir.
- When toasted to your liking, remove seeds from heat and transfer into a heat-proof bowl to cool. If you leave the seeds in the pan, they may continue to cook. (Note: Please be careful when handling these seeds as they will be very hot due to their oil content.)
- When cooled, transfer the toasted sesame seeds into the food processor and process on high speed to achieve a fine meal. Ensure to scrape down the sides of the processor to achieve an even mixture. Add a little of the oil during this step to help blending.
- Pour in the remainder of the oil and continue to process on a high setting until you have a smooth mixture. The tahini paste should run off the back of a spoon. If you feel the paste is too thick, then you may add a little more oil as required.
- Transfer the mixture into a dry and sealed container and keep refrigerated. The tahini has a high oil content so will keep in the fridge for weeks.
- Finally, enjoy your yummy homemade tahini and make sure to experiment with recipes using tahini. Some ideas are listed below.
Recipes That Call for Tahini
Recipes using tahini include:
- Tahini salad dressing
- Tahini dip
- Yogurt Tahini sauce for falafel sandwich or falafel wrap
- Lemon mint tahini pesto for pasta or noodles
- Tahini cookies
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© 2016 David Branagan