Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds and closely related to African cooking. In various cuisines this paste is used as an ingredient. The making of tahini recipe is quite easy and it can either be made with hulled or unhulled sesame seeds depending upon the cuisine.
Sesame seeds are lightly roasted in order to get a perfect aroma and texture. Some consider it pretty similar to peanut butter, but tahini has relatively different uses than peanut butter.
The etymology of ‘tahini’ is based on Arabic dialect. In Syrian and Lebanese dialect, the name of this sesame seeds is spelled with some different spelling as compared to the English word. In Arabic, it means ‘to grind’.
Various tahini recipes are hummus, baba ghanoush and halava.
History of Tahini Recipes
Tahini is believed to be originated in prehistoric Persia (Iran). At that time this paste was known as ‘ardeh’ means ‘holy food’. ‘Hummus Kasa’ is also a primeval dish that is believed to be prepared with sesame paste and this ancient recipe was published in an Arabic cook book during 13th century.
‘The Hollywood Glamour cook book’ also uses to contain the word ‘tahini’ under the category of ‘raw nut butters’. These butters were use to be sold in the health sections of the food stores.
Culinary Uses of Sesame Paste
Tahini paste is a very common ingredient in dishes prepared all over the world. Various sauces are based on this sesame paste. These sauces are usually served as side dish or to garnish various foods. Soups are also commonly prepared with it.
Meat and vegetable dishes are also prepared with seasoning of sesame paste. As a spread also this paste is quite favorable similarly like peanut butter, but texture and taste are quite different for both the spreads.
A dish called ‘tahin-pekhmez’ has a different story of serving. Tahini in Turkish cuisine is mixed with pekhmez (molasses like syrup) and resultant dish is tahini-pekhmez that is typically served as a bread dip in dessert during winters.
Though it’s a savory paste, but various desserts are also prepared with it.
Methods of Making Tahini Recipes
Dishes with are typically prepared by mixing this sesame paste with number of ingredients. Sesame paste is often used as a garnish.
Roasting of sesame seeds is necessarily done in order to give a red hue to seeds and to the paste.
Cuisines Commonly Making Tahini Recipes
- Turkish cuisine – Tahini-pakhmez is one of the most popular tahini recipes. It is commonly served as dessert.
- Iranian cuisine – Date syrup is mixed with sesame paste to make a delectable dessert to be eaten with bread.
- Cusine of Cyprus – Pitta Soulvaki is often eaten with Tahini and the paste is even used as a dipping for any kind of bread.
- Israeli cuisine – This sesame paste is served with falafel and also used to make desserts with date syrup.
- European cuisine – It is often served commercially in sandwiches.
- Cantonese cuisine – This popular paste is used as a condiment.
Apart from these cuisines, Japanese and Indian cuisines are also famous for using sesame paste to make tahini recipe.
Buying and Storing
Tahini is easily available commercially, though it can easily be prepared at home. Either fresh or dehydrated paste can be used to make various tahini recipes.
The paste can be stored in air-tight jar and kept in refrigerator for several weeks. Dehydrated powder can be stored at room temperature of long period of time. If sesame seeds are roasted properly then there are very less chances of spoilage of the paste or powder.
Though storage is not a problem, but sesame paste may get rancid, hence it should be properly and regularly checked for freshness.
Nutritional Value of
Tahini is indeed a healthy ingredient as it contains sesame that is extremely beneficial. It includes high amount of proteins and excessive quantity of oil. Sesame paste also contains carbohydrates, energry and cholesterol due to oil content.
Tahini recipes can be consumed without guilt as they does not contain any harmful effects.
- Though tahini recipes are not commonly used in Chinese recipes, but sesame seeds are popular in China from past 5000 years.
- Sesame paste was featured in the Hollywood movie ‘Antitrust’ as the main character of the movie was having allergy from the paste.