Tahini: A Versatile Ingredient For Your Culinary Experiments

A scoop of this healthy paste can make all the difference

Aindrisha Mitra Published Oct 2, 2020 10:42:23 IST
Tahini: A Versatile Ingredient For Your Culinary Experiments Photo: Shutterstock

Tahini, a paste, is made by grinding and toasting sesame seeds. It is fairly simple to make at home, and you can experiment with a number of seed varieties—hulled, unhulled, sprouted, toasted, among others. The word tahini comes from the Greek term takhini which is, in turn, derived from the Arabic word tahana, meaning ‘to crush’.

Today, this condiment is used as an ingredient in preparing dips, toppings and garnishes. It is particularly used in Middle-Eastern dishes, such as falafel and shawarma. Tahini is also added to hummus and baba ghanoush to accentuate their flavours. Tahini is a popular choice for salad dressing too.

Essentially a nut butter, tahini is quite healthy too. It is rich in protein, B and E vitamins as well as minerals like iron, magnesium and calcium. It is also a good source of heart-healthy fats—some even like to call it a ‘superfood’.  

Toasting it right

The trick to making good tahini is toasting sesame seeds just right so that they do not get burnt.

Should the seeds remain untoasted, the tahini paste can turn quite bitter. And if you are looking for more nutrients, make sure you opt for the unhulled variety of seeds. You don’t need to worry too much about storing it either: As long as it’s kept in an airtight container, it can last for as long as three months.

Readymade options

For those not wanting to make the paste from scratch, there are a lot of readymade options you can choose to buy online. They come at very affordable prices too. Do keep an eye out for artificial flavours and colours.

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