Tahini could be called tahini butter, for it is sesame seeds roasted and combined with a little oil until it is smooth and blended. It, plus some lemon juice and garlic, is the basis of several Middle Eastern dishes, made with tahini. It gives almost any dish a nutty, creamy flavor, not only in main dishes but in desserts, as well.
Sesame seeds are said to be one of the first sources of edible oil, and the earliest reference is found in an Assyrian myth, where it states the gods consumed sesame wine on the night before creating the earth. Other early records state Sesame is from India with use dating back to 3,000 B.C., when they burned sesame oil for light as well as for soot for their ink-block drawings. African slaves called sesame seeds benne seeds and used that name when they took them to North America. Even to now, one of the favored South Carolinean dishes is Benne Seed Cookies. Sesame seed oil is still an important sourse of fat for those cooking in the Near and Far East.
You can buy tahini in the supermarket or make your own:
Place sesame seeds in a food processor and process by themselves for about a minute. Add small amounts of olive oil and continue to process. Stop adding oil once the mixture is smooth, free from grit and easy to pour. Add salt and garlic to taste.
Safely store tahini in the refrigerator for up to one month. Like many peanut butters, it may separate with oil rising to the top. Correct this by simply stiring the mixture well.
Below are foods especially tasty with tahini:
- Baba ganough
- Breads, toast
- Fish and seafood
- Garlic sauce
- Meat sauce
- Peanut sauce
- Salad dressings
- Stews and soups
- Tacos, wraps and sandwiches
- Vegetable sauce
Foodsites with recipes: