Sam’s journey toward vegetarianism has been a huge challenge for me as a cook. I’m learning about new ingredients and new ways to prepare ingredients I’ve tended to ignore in the past, I’m learning to cook dishes that I’ve always filed away under “too foreign to try” and I’m acquiring a whole new vocabulary of nutritional values. It’s amusing most times and scary occasionally. But I’m the brave one who has never learned to accept the meaning of failure. So, I plod on. As Sam travels the road to vegetarianism, I am travelling a parellel road to cooking vegetarian.
This weekend is a chickpea feast. Hummus, falafel, a soup with split chickpeas and kailan… The soup has been consumed, the falafel I am going to make tomorrow, and the hummus is in the fridge to allow the flavors to develop. Which brings me to this post about homemade tahini. You can’t make hummus without tahini. Or, to be more precise, you can’t make the dish that the Western world calls hummus without tahini. “Hummus” is actually the Arabic word for chickpea and the dish that America and Europe call hummus is actually “hummus with tahini.”
Tahini is a paste made with sesame seeds and oil. It is sold in jars but, in the Philippines, tahini in jars is quite pricey. Sesame seeds are far cheaper and, just with the addition of oil, it’s easy enough to make tahini at home. Of course, there is a traditional way of making tahini which requires several steps. This is the homemade version so everything is simplified. If I have to labor over the process, I’d just bite the bullet and get the pricey stuff in jars.
Recipe: Tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1/2 c. of sesame seeds
- 2 tbsps. of olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
- First, dry toast the sesame seeds in an oil free pan.
- Don’t let them turn too dark. You just want them to release their fragrant oil.
- See how the sesame seeds glisten with the oil they emitted when heated? You want them to do just that.
- Cool the sesame seeds for about five minutes then transfer to the food processor. Add the oil then process at medium speed for about 30 seconds then turn up the setting to the highest speed and continue processing until a paste is formed.
- There are no rules as to how thin or how thick tahini should be. I like mine on the thick side but if you prefer a thinner paste, you can add a bit more oil.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 4 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 1