Tahini is a multi-faceted condiment that has become a staple in my fridge and has actually become incredibly trendy! It is perfect for crudités, chicken, dressings, and even dessert as we learned from our visit to Seed and Mill. Once you have mastered this super simple dip it will become a staple in your home as well!
1⁄2 C whole tahini paste
1⁄4 – 1⁄2 C water
2 tablespoons- 1⁄4 C fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 C finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon of salt or to taste
You can make this recipe in a bowl using an emersion blender (my method of
choice), or in your food processor. Always taste as you go! Often
times tahini paste will taste different depending on where the seeds were
grown, so taste it to make sure you have the balance right.
Place tahini paste, 1⁄4 C of water, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl
and blend. Add salt, and blend. Now alternatingly, add small amounts of
water and lemon juice, blending as you go, to thin out the paste without it
becoming too lemony (the exact amount might differ depending on the tahini
paste you have). Top with parsley
And now for the history lesson and the science of sesame and tahini…
The sesame seed is a plant originating in Africa, which migrated to India, and the
Middle-East, and then Asia. Sesame is used in so many different recipes, ranging
from savory, to sweet, to spicy. People use it for its diversity both in recipes and
nutritionally. 1 tablespoon has just over 1.5 grams of protein and 8% of your daily
dose of calcium (got tahini?).
You may have seen different types of sesame seeds and tahini (or sesame)
pastes around, so let’s go through some of the common ones.
Unhulled sesame seeds are just that- the shells that the seeds grow in have not been taken off.
Think of it kind of like whole wheat. Hulled sesame seeds are when the outer shell
that the seed grows in has been removed leaving us with beautiful white sesame seeds.
Black sesame seeds are another type of sesame seed that grows on the same plant as
the white seeds. If you cut a black sesame seed in half (trust me on this) the very center is
white. That is because the black is the outer shell, so these are unhulled seeds. Black seeds
have a stronger sesame and more nutty taste than white seeds.
Tahini is sesame paste. There are different methods of crushing the seeds. The traditional
Israeli way is between two stones, similar to a flour mill. There are also metal mills and
presses that are used in places
like Seed+Mill (picture
right) in Chelsea Market
Tahini paste can be
found in white, and whole vareities. I like to make my tahini
dip with the whole tahini variety because I like the taste better and the nutrients
found in the whole seeds that are not in the hulled seeds (think whole wheat vs
white wheat). And the test kitchen has been playing around with making black
tahini (yumm), but that is still a work in progress.
Tahini and sesame seeds are super versatile. Seeds can be used in cookies,
breads, the center of a dish (like sesame chicken), or as a garnish for dishes and
salads. There’s a reason tahini is the new kale!
By: Leah Jaroslawicz, the @kosher_connoisseur