While holidaying in Nepal, we ate a fair bit of Middle Eastern food and I’ve been craving more ever since I came back. And so I’ve been crazily bookmarking dip recipes to make my own mezze. Curiously, a fair number of these delicious dips have one ingredient in common – tahini!
Tahini is a paste of sesame seeds and oil, and is a staple in most Middle Eastern cooking. It has a strong, slightly bitter flavour and is used in everything from dips and sauces and also by itself as a relish. Of course you can use store bought tahini, but if you live in place like I do (read: middle of nowhere) you have no choice but to make it yourself. And it’s SO easy, I’m surprised more people don’t do it!
Ooh, yes. The news! So Hubs has been very nice and bought me a shiny new toy – my very own fancy DSLR! Which means, from this recipe on, you guys’ll have nicer photos to look at (let’s hope!). I’m still figuring things out, like where the best light at my home is and how to make stuff look pretty, blah di blah. Counting on y’all to be nice till I get my mojo on! I may also have got slightly carried away with the step-by-step pictures. Ah, um. Now that you’ve been warned, back to the tahini.
This is ALL you need. Did I already tell you how easy this is?
Lightly toast the sesame seeds till they’re golden and fragrant. Don’t burn them, though – they taste AWFUL. You can totally skip this step, but toasting the seasame gives the tahini a deeper, nuttier flavour.
Put it all onto a plate and let it cool. See? Just lightly flecked with gold.
Once it feels cool to touch, put it all into a blender or food processor jar with an S-blade.
Blitz it up till it’s all crumbly.
Add in a couple of glugs of olive oil.
Blitz it some more and here’s what you get. Keep the tahini as is or thin in out, it’s up to you really.
Do the oil-blitz-oil-blitz a few more times to get the consistency you want (thickly pourable for hummus and other dips). Once that’s done, transfer it to an airtight jar and store! Ta da!
EASY HOMEMADE TAHINI
Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 5 mins | Makes ~1 cup
What you’ll need
1½ cups (200g) white sesame seeds (hulled)
4-5 tbsp olive oil (or any other mild oil like grapeseed)
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1 tsp salt (optional)
- In a skillet or griddle on medium heat, lightly toast 1½ cups (200g) white sesame seeds till fragrant and flecked with gold. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
- Transfer to a wide plate or tray and let cool completely
- Once cool, blitz the sesame in a food processor or blender till a crumbly paste forms
- Add 2 tbsp olive oil (or any other mild oil like grape seed) and process again till it starts coming together
- Add oil by the tablespoon and blitz alternately till the consistency is as desired. (I used 5 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp sesame oil)
- Season with 1 tsp salt (optional) and transfer to an airtight container. Keeps well in the refrigerator for months!
ADAPTATIONS & HACKS
- Skip toasting the sesame seeds if you’re short on time. The tahini will still be good but not pack as much a punch as if you toast the sesame seeds.
- The texture is slightly coarse, which is totally okay for making hummus etc, but if you want it super smooth (to make a tahini yogurt dip etc.), blitz with a high-power immersion blender right at the end
- Olive oil is what traditional tahini is made with, but you can use a mix of oils (olive, grapeseed, soyabean etc.). Just make sure the stuff you use is all mild!