Tahini is a paste originating from Middle East with a very special and unique taste. It is well known as an ingredient for hummus and dips, but it can be used on its own too.
It can be prepared at home in a few minutes using only a few ingredients. The main ingredients are sesame seeds, that can be unhulled or hulled, as well raw or roasted. Also you may add water and oil to it, but it is not necessary. There are a lot of different variations of tahini depending on the ingredients used.
Sesame seeds are famous for their mineral content and are considered as one of the healthiest foods. Unhulled sesame seeds contain much more nutrients than hulled seeds — calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium, etc. Therefore it is a good idea to use unhulled seeds even if they have a slightly bitter taste. Sesame seeds have also a high content of fats and protein.
Making of the Tahini
If you prefer raw sesame seeds then it is a good idea to soak them for a few hours. If you want to use roasted seeds then you have to roast them for a few minutes in a pan. The taste will be a bit different, the roasted seeds will have a stronger taste, but the heat will destroy some of the vitamins and minerals in it.
Put the soaked or roasted seeds in a blender or food processor to create the paste. You may add water or oil to it to change its taste or to make it less dry.
Store in a sealed jar in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Do not refrigerate.
It is recommended to try all the variations until you find the one you like. The picture at the top of the post shows a tahini made from hulled, raw sesame seeds with added extra virgin olive oil. Nowadays I use unhulled seeds without any extra oil added to it — this creates a darker and slightly bitter paste with much more nutrients in it.