I can't stress enough how easy tahini is to make at home, nor how quickly it can be made. Best of all though, making your own tahini is so much more cost-effective than buying it. Half a kilo of sesame seeds costs around the same as two commercial jars of tahini from the supermarket.
Another reason for making your own tahini is that sometimes the shop-bought stuff can be a bit icky, and even rancid, especially if it's not been stored in ideal conditions. I once bought a jar from a local corner shop, and discovered that although it was within date (just), it smelled really bad - like old oil. I suspect that at some point, the clear glass jar had been kept in direct sunlight, and that the oil had simply gone off.
Also, by making your own tahini, you can control how much - if any - salt goes into to it. I prefer to not add any salt, I'd rather season the actual recipe I am making, but some brands add salt to their tahini as a matter of course - and labels aren't always printed in a Roman alphabet!
Although it's not strictly essential to toast the seeds beforehand, I find it adds to the depth of flavour, and gives the tahini more of that lovely, nutty taste. Feel free to omit this step though, if you want.
Once you've made your tahini, use it in salad dressings, to make tarator, hummus, baba ghanouj, falafels, halva (omnom!), as a marinade for tofu, a dip for crudités, a topping for baked potatoes... or even in cocktails! While the uses for tahini are not endless, it can be used for so much more than hummus. Why not make some today, and see for yourself?
How To Make Tahini
- 150 g sesame seeds
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a heavy skillet for 5 mins (don't let them brown). Keep the pan moving to prevent burning.
- Drizzle in the olive oil, a little at a time, and keep processing until the tahini is at your desired consistency.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight jar, away from direct sunlight. Some separation of tahini and oil may occur, just stir it in before using.
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tbsp = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml
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