Open sesame- How I learned to love tahini

You've probably seen tahini slowly creep into more and more ingredients lists on recipes recently.From Ottolenghi to Michael Katz ,dollops of tahini are being heaped onto dishes across the board. 
But what exactly is it? It’s vegan, gluten-free, tastes nutty, and is simple to make.It was yet another lockdown revelation for me.Every time I logged onto my phone in the last couple of months it was flashing up recipes for tahini every which way.I was astounded by the amount of new uses for this age old ingredient that were coming up.
So with this new acceptance, I started a mission to fix this one missing puzzle piece. I was going to embrace Tahini like I hadn’t before.
 Tahini paste is made from ground sesame seeds. It's quite thick, so it's often made into a tahini sauce or dressing by adding water and/or lemon juice,which  as I have recently discovered, is so cheap and easy to make at home.The commercial varieties are just not a patch on what has been emerging from my food processor.
This paste made from hulled sesame seeds, is a staple ingredient in the Middle East and Mediterranean.
If you are buying tahini, you want to make sure you choose the lighter coloured variety, so there’s not a lot of oil separation in the jar. This will happen naturally after a certain amount of time, but it normally indicates the tahini is on the older side.Always choose a light-coloured tahini made from hulled sesame seeds. Check the label and make sure the ingredients list is as short as possible, ideally only sesame seeds. You can store tahini in the fridge, but keeping it at room temperature makes it much easier to use. Always remember to stir it before using, too. 
The reason it's popping up everywhere is because it's so versatile! From smoothies to sauces, this must-have ingredient  should not be overlooked.I have to eat my words here because It has taken literally years for me to come round to the fact that tahini was an ingredient that I should embrace....
"I´ve never been a great fan of tahini,
so when I saw Jamie Oliver on the television,
making hummus with a peanut butter twist, 
my heart leapt for joy".     o cozinheiro, 15 February 2019
I’m totally in love with the vibrant pink of this roasted beetroot hummus!
Something like homemade hummus takes practice to perfect. Getting the perfect smooth and creamy, yet light and airy consistency takes practice, as does perfecting that satisfying rich nutty-“yolkey” aftertaste that I discovered I liked so much.I was surprised to find through this process that it was the tahini that lent this delectable quality to the dish, and so, with a perfect bowl of warm homemade hummus that I had slaved to make, I started to appreciate my long arch-nemesis — the tahini itself.It was not so much that I loved tahini less but that I loved hummus more.

Ways to use tahini
Homemade tahini is so easy to make. This recipe is quick and makes tahini that tastes so much better than commercial varieties.Once you have tahini in your fridge (it lasts over a month), you will find yourself adding it to an endless number of dishes.

1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) sesame seeds
2 to 4 tablespoons neutral flavored oil such as sunflower,or a light olive oil
Pinch of salt, optional

Toast Sesame Seeds

Add sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly colored (not brown), 3 to 5 minutes. Careful here, sesame seeds can burn quickly.

Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and cool completely.
Make Tahini

Add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste forms, about 1 minute.

Add 3 tablespoons of the oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple times. Check the tahini’s consistency. It should be smooth, not gritty and should be pourable. You may need to process for another minute or add the additional tablespoon of oil.

Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste. Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in.
To Store

Store tahini covered in the refrigerator for one month. You may notice it separates over time, like a natural peanut butter would. If this happens, give the tahini a good stir before using.
new potatoes with green tahini dressing

Arguably the most well known way to use tahini is when making hummus. Even though I am a huge hummus freak, I now use tahini many other ways in the kitchen.Here are some  suggestions for how to use tahini, other than in hummus

Mixed with Greek yoghurt, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper and a sauce to dip roasted veg or crudités.

Mixed with equal quantities of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Coat cauliflower, broccoli or Romanesco before roasting for about 20-25 minutes on 200°C.

Served with noodles. Italy might have brought bolognese into the world, but China has dan dan noodles – stir-fried pork mince with ginger, chili oil, szechuan peppercorns and tahini over egg noodles. Simply mixed with soy sauce is great, too.

With chicken thighs. Sear the thighs and then add a mixture of chicken stock, tahini, soy sauce and a little sugar and cook for 35-40 minutes. The sauce will be thick, sweet and salty at the same time – delicious.

Make Baba Ganoush, an incredible roasted aubergine dip and great alternative or companion to hummus
Make your own tahini salad dressing.

Turn it into a sauce. perfect drizzled over vegetables such as new potatoes fish or meats. 
Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Green Tahini Sauce

Corn on the cob With Green Tahini Sauce

Green tahini

 Just love the litle butterfly that landed as we were taking the picture

Tahini is an incredibly versatile ingredient, especially when it comes to dressings and sauces. The smooth texture can be used make a variety of creamy dressings for salads, grilled vegetables or meats. A spectacular sauce can make all the difference in a dish. This one is incredibly versatile and loaded with fresh flavour that will have you reinventing ways to use it over and over again.  It will elevate any dish.I´m currently slathering it on everything including sandwiches and salads.
It makes a wonderful dressing for grilled vegetables and light meat dishes like grilled chicken.This sauce is ready in less than five minutes and works with so many dishes The combination of fresh coriander and parsley gives it a gorgeous green colour and tons of fresh flavour.
        1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
        1/4 cup runny tahini
        1 cup fresh cilantro, large stems removed
        1 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, large stems removed
        1 large garlic clove
        1 tsp honey p
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        3–4 tbsps filtered water (start with 3 and add 4 if you desire a thinner consistency)

            Add all ingredients to a mini food processor (or blender) and puree until smooth and creamy.It can be thinned out with water to make it pourable and drizzle-able.Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to five days. It will thicken in the refrigerator so when reusing you might need to whisk with water to thin out a bit.


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