I've been playing with Middle Eastern vegan food over the last couple of days and, really, one can't function well in such a field without Tahini. It's actually Tahina, if you're gonna be strict about its Arabic pronunciation, by the way.
Following this recipe will fill up a small jar or, in my case, plastic container.
You will need:
- 2 cups of sesame seeds
- 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil (preferably extra virgin olive oil because it is cold pressed and raw)
- water if necessary
There are two ways to go about this: Raw or roasted. I personally prefer raw because I think it's healthier but roasting is traditional so I'm not adverse to it. There are two attitudes you receive this food item with—you either like it or you don't—and raw or roasted won't make much of a difference. Either way, you'll be needing a good food processor or high speed blender (Vitamix or Blendtec are the best brands).
Let's make Tahini:
1. (For raw) Soak your sesame seeds in water overnight. This is done so the seeds become easier to digest in their raw state. Drain afterwards.
1. (For traditional) Roast your dry sesame seeds in a pan, just long enough for oil to start coming out of them. Toss or stir the seeds continuously to make sure they are evenly heated. Make sure they do not turn brown. They may turn yellow—even goldish—but never darker than that. Dark seeds will give you a very bitter tahini and, properly made, this food item is already slightly bitter to begin with.
2. Blend or process the seeds with the oil until it turns into a smooth paste. Add a bit of water—a tablespoon at a time—if you find it difficult to blend. Don't add too much, though, as you don't want it to become too fluid. You want considerable viscosity in your final product.
Note: The extra water is not necessary if your blender or food processor is powerful enough or if you have the patience to smoosh it down every five seconds. You may even forgo the oil if you feel you don't need it. The sesame seeds are rich in oil so all that the extra oil really does is help with the fluidity but it's not absolutely necessary.