Although I grew up in Israel and was familiar with tahini, I never forgot the first time I ate tahini as a dip and not as the sauce that moistens your falafel in pita (and makes it easier to swallow). It was in 1997 in a party that Tamara, my semi-sister, threw in her apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She made it thick and creamy. It was a revelation to me because I didn’t know that you can make it as liquid or stiff as you like. Now I eat it with almost everything; omelets, frittatas, shakshuka, falafel, sweet potato boats, roasted cabbage, sweet potatoes or cauliflower. I even mix it with vermicelli noodles or drizzle it over ratatouille.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, tahini is a nutritious Middle Eastern condiment made with tahini butter, (ground sesame seeds), lemon juice and water.
The secret to a good tahini is the tahini butter. Therefore you should always buy Middle Eastern or Ethiopian brands. Because they still stone grind the sesame seeds as opposed to processing them in a food processor. The old technique gives the tahini butter a natural salty flavor and runny texture. You should make sure that it says on the packaging stone-ground. In Los Angeles I buy it in the Middle Eastern, Persian or Armenian supermarkets or on roasted veggies or in a falafel sandwich.
- ¼ cup tahini butter
- Juice of ½ lemon - about 2 tablespoons
- ¼ cup water or more
- !Serve with
- 1 tomato - peeled and grated, optional
- Olive oil
- Sumac - optional
- Any herb - optional
- In a medium bowl or measuring cup, vigorously whisk the tahini butter, with the lemon juice and and water until smooth and fluffy. If the tahini is stiff add a little bit of water, if it’s too runny add a little bit of tahini butter.
- Pour into a deep serving plate. Put the peeled and grated tomato over and a quick drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with herb and sumac. Serve with bread, crackers or vegetable sticks, or store in a container or jar in the fridge up to 5 days or