Friday, June 5, 2015

Tahini from Scratch

Tahini from Scratch 

I am a complete DIY girl. Unless and until it is absolutely impossible to make something from scratch I would usually take the longer route not just because it gives the emotive pleasures of doing it yourself but when it comes to food as per my experience if you use ingredients of good quality the dish comes out way better than the bottled version which would definitely have added artificial preservatives to make it last long.

Some condiments are a staple at my home and the famous Middle Eastern 'Tahini' is one such condiment. Basically the day I found out what Tahini actually is I was both happy because the ingredient used is found in abundance in Kolkata but it brings back fond memories of my grandmother making my favourite sweets out of it. Yes Tahini is basically toasted sesame butter and you make the middle eastern sauce by a simple addition of garlic, cool water , lemon juice and salt and if you serve it as a dip simply chop some parsley leaves on top.

In Bengal most grandmothers make or at least mine would make little sweetmeat balls. The most popular sweetmeat ball is the coconut ball 'Narkel naru' which I cannot stand unless it is made with Plam date jaggery but when it came to 'Tiler Naru' Sesame sweetmeat balls I could finish a dozen in less than 15 minutes. My grandmother would make them bite sized and I adored them.

Later on I myself started using sesame seeds for a number of dishes. For instance I love using it for some of my Chinese recipes. A quick search over the internet gave me the information that these seeds are the oldest seeds used by most traditional cultures. Hence you find it in Chinese cooking, Indian cooking and then of course there are the Middle Eastern delicacies where it is used in abundance.

I had come across this recipe a long time back (2009) and had not taken down the source from where I had noted down the recipe. While writing the recipe I had mistakenly thought that it must have been Mama'sLebanese Kitchen, a Lebanese food blog which I follow but as it turns out her blog does not contain the recipe.

Anyway so the source of this recipe is the internet which is a library of information

This is Tahini in its pure form :-

100gm white sesame seeds
2 tbsp raw sesame oil (Optional) or peanut Oil

Toast the sesame seeds ensuring that you do not burn them. This step is crucial because raw sesame seeds when made into a paste leaves a mildly bitter taste.

Blend it with the oil to make a smooth butter like consistency.

For the sauce :-

The sesame paste from 100gm sesame seeds
150ml cool water
Garlic cloves (In India the garlic cloves are very small and I needed 8 of them. If you are using the large ones 4 are enough)
2 tbsp lemon Juice
Salt as per taste

Blend everything together and voila you have a beautiful nutty creamy condiment. It can used to marinate chicken which you might want to grill or over salads or even as a dip. When using it as a dip finely mince parsley leaves and top the condiment. This is an essential ingredient for the Middle Eastern dish called Hummus.

I store it in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

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