Although I grew up in Israel and was familiar with tahini, the first time I had tahini as a dip, rather than as the sauce that moistens your falafel, was when I moved to New York in 1997. My friend-sister, Tamara, made it for a party at her apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She made it creamy and fluffy, and it was a revelation to me. I didn’t know you could play with the texture. Since then, it has become something I eat with 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.
Tahini is a creamy and nutty Middle Eastern condiment made with tahini butter, (ground sesame seeds), lemon juice and water. To make good tahini you need to use Middle Eastern or Ethiopian tahini butters. They’re made the old-fashioned way, the sesame seeds are stone-ground as opposed to processing them in a food processor. The stones 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 Amazon.
Preparing tahini is easier than tying your shoelaces. All you have to do is mix tahini butter with the same amount of water and lemon juice until it’s smooth. To make it silky and fluffy, whisk it or blend it in a blender. You can make it thick and creamy to eat as a dip or make it runny to drizzle over 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