Homemade tahini

5 Sep


The other day, I asked my husband to pick up some sesame seeds on the way home. Instead of the little packet I was expecting, he plonked a 500g bag on the counter. That’ll to take years to get through, I thought ungratefully…

I know that I have nothing to complain about. My husband and daughters are willing to pop to the shops at a moment’s notice, and generally return with a reasonable approximation of the requested item.

(Not like a former housemate who went to buy half a dozen eggs and returned with a six-pack of beer. “I knew it was six of something,” he said.)

And without that enormous bag of sesame seeds, I might not have discovered how easy it is to make tahini. Or how there is no comparison between fresh tahini and the pale lump of hardened sludge submerged in low-grade oil that is most store-bought tahini. Or how amazingly good it tastes.

I mainly use tahini to make hummus, but it makes a great sauce for falafel, or dressing for Turkish white bean salad – and tahini cookies are a lovely alternative to peanut butter.

(makes about ¾ cup)

  • 1 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 3 Tb sunflower oil (more if needed)
  1. Heat a dry, cast-iron frying pan over a medium-low flame.
  2. Fry the sesame seeds, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Take care not to overcook them.
  3. Cool slightly then transfer to a food processor. With the machine running, slowly add the oil and blend to a smooth, pourable paste.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

3 Responses to “Homemade tahini”

  1. Margo September 5, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

    Finally! An option I have been seeking to the dreadful sludge, as you call it, that I have available here as tahini. Strangely, I never thought of making it. So many of Ottolenghi’s recipe call for a thin tahini and this looks like it would fit the bill

  2. Anonymous September 12, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    This is brilliant. If they gave out awards for food ingenuity, this would be a shoe-in, along with savoury oatmeal! Now you just need to come up with something for the 10kg bag of semolina flour my hubby brought home the other day when I was looking for 1/2 cup (1/2cup!!!) for an italian pastry recipe…

    • Andrea September 12, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

      10kg of semolina flour – yikes!

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