Tahini frequently appears in recipes throughout “Jerusalem,” as well as in Mr. Ottolenghi’s other cookbooks, “Plenty,” “Ottolenghi,” and his latest, “Plenty More,” out this week.
“Its creamy, smooth nuttiness makes it as wonderful drizzled over a bowl of vanilla ice cream or on some banana bread, with a small cube of honeycomb, as it is in a huge number of savory dishes,” he noted.
For instance, he makes green tahini blended with parsley and uses the fragrant sauce along with pomegranate seeds to garnish oven-roasted sea bass.
For a light flavor and smooth texture, Mr. Ottolenghi recommends using tahini made from hulled sesame seeds, such as the Al Arz brand.
But Maura Kilpatrick, pastry chef of Oleanna restaurant and Sofra Bakery & Café in Cambridge, Mass., prefers the Tohum brand, dark tahini made from roasted seeds.
She uses it in tahini shortbread cookies, tahini brioche doughnuts, and milk chocolate tahini candies, which she describes as “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for people with nut allergies.”
New York chef Alex Stupak, meanwhile, finds tahini a natural fit for Mexican food. At Empellón Taqueria, Mr. Stupak serves Japanese eggplant drizzled with a sauce of Mexican crema, lime juice, chipotles, and tahini.
“Sesame and eggplant have an affinity for one another,” he said. “There is a precedent for this in Thai and North African cooking, as well.”
Compared with peanut and almond butter, tahini is slightly bitter and has a thinner consistency. At its best, it is smooth and pourable, like rich honey. Flavor and texture can vary quite a bit between brands.
In addition to the aforementioned Al Arz and Tohum, American store shelves now boast several boutique tahinis from Philadelphia-based Soom, including pure-sesame tahini and a Nutella-Esque chocolate version.
Whole Foods sells tahini made in Israel under its 365 Organic label, too.
Because the oil and solids will separate, you’ll want to stir the tahini until it’s quite smooth before using it, and once you’ve opened the jar, you should keep it in the refrigerator.
Beyond that, as chefs around the country are learning, pretty much anything goes.
Prep: 30 min.
Cook for 15 minutes (plus 5 minutes standing time and cooling time)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup hulled tahini
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup FreeNut butter
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1/4 cup sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Combine juice and bicarbonate of soda in a glass bowl (mixture will become foamy).
- Add sugar, tahini, lemon rind, oil, and FreeNut butter.
- Using an electric mixer, mix for one minute or until the mixture is just combined.
- Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and mixed spice over the tahini.
- Add sesame seeds.
- Beat on low until just combined.
- Roll two level teaspoons of mixture into balls.
- Place on prepared trays, 4cm apart.
- Flatten slightly with a fork.
- Bake for 15 minutes, swapping trays halfway during cooking, or until golden and cooked through.
- Stand on trays for five minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack.
Tomatoes on Tahini
Preparation time: 10 min., plus 20 min. resting
SERVES: From four to six
* 80g tahini
* 60ml chilled Water
* 1/2 lemon juice
* 400-500g tomatoes (mixed colors if possible).
* 1 small shallot, finely chopped
* 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 3 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
* 1/2 lemon juice
* Finely chopped leaves from four sprigs of parsley
* 1 – 2 tsp sumac
* A large selection of freshly picked parsley leaves
* Crunchy bread
1. Mix the tahini with 60ml of chilled water and the lemon zest in a bowl. Although it may seem like the liquids and tahini won’t mix, a little patience with a balloon whisk will produce a thick, yogurt-like texture. Keep covered and refrigerate until needed.
2. Slice the tomatoes into chunks of 3-4 cm. Add the tomatoes to a bowl. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Mix well and let cool at room temperature for 20 min.
3. Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Add three to four grinds from the pepper mill. The tomatoes should be drained of any excess juices. Stir the dressing into the tomatoes.
4. Five minutes before you serve take the tahini out of the fridge. Place the tahini on a large platter or plate, and then add the chopped tomatoes. Serve with crusty bread and sprinkle with the sumac or parsley.
Iftar recipe: Tahini chicken kunafa Cone
Let’s make kunafa bread a little more spicy and crunch this Ramadan.
Kunafa – Half of the pack can make 12 cones
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Keep aside
Tahini chicken filling
3 cups of shredded and cooked chicken
1 teaspoon tahini
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 cups chopped cucumber, onion, coriander leaves, and lettuce.
5 triangles of cheese, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon tomato sauce (optional).
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine all of these ingredients to make the filling
Make kunafa dough (strands), and then roll it on a stainless-steel cone mould. These are available in most supermarkets.
Before rolling the kunafa dough, you should apply very little oil to the cone mold. You may use a brush to coat the dough with the egg-milk mixture. It can be deep-fried in hot oil.
Let it cool down for five minutes before removing the cone mold. Continue the process.
Use a piping bag to apply the filling.
Serve the filling with ketchup.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s tahini recipe collection
It is difficult to avoid cutting and pasting Yotam Ottolenghi’s tahini recipe collection. Simply put, he is a tahini machine.
He stuffs it into everything: tahini peas, tahini salmon, tahini pumpkin, tahini schnitzel, tahini brownies. It is easy to understand his passion.
The toasted sesame paste adds a unique depth to many dishes. Here are ten ways you can use it.
Before we can move on to other cooks, it is essential to respect Ottolenghi, the king of Tahini. The Tahini thins of Ottolenghi are a great place to start.
These things are not as easy to make as crackers but are worth it. A trayful of delicious little treats will be left, rich in sesame seeds, chili, and nori flakes.
Ottolenghi suggests pairing the dishes with a cheeseboard.
You don’t dip your toes into the world of Tahini gingerly, but you do so by pinching your nose and then dipping in with both feet.
Felicity Cloake’s perfect Hummus is a great pairing. Six tablespoons of Tahini is required for her recipe.
Have you ever tried to make thin tahini with Hummus? I haven’t. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t.
Now it’s time to discover the amazing versatility of Tahini. A chicken salad recipe from Spruce Eats might be the best place to start.
This pitta is loaded with roast chicken, baby spinach, shredded carrots, and tahini yogurt. It’s delicious and super easy to put together.
Then, you can move on to Garden Deli’s recipe of tahini flatbread, honey, and thyme. This recipe was found in a recipe swap article six years ago.
This recipe showcases the versatility of Tahini. This flatbread is made with a tablespoon of Tahini. This add-on softly complicates the flavor and makes it a more interesting dish.
Mushrooms and chickpeas, tahini
Nigel Slater has joined the tahini train. This recipe, called mushrooms, chickpeas, and Tahini, is a great lunch option.
Two large field mushrooms are filled with garlicky chickpea paste, rich in Tahini, and baked for about half an hour. It is that simple, and it is amazing.
Spicy pork medallions
Before I go crazy, here’s one last savory dish. A Chef’s Kitchen shares a recipe for spicy, tahini pork medallions and harissa-roasted sweet potatoes wedges.
This makes a great weekday meal. The sauce brings out the best of this pan-cooked pork fillet, which is pan-cooked and rubbed with cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and ginger.
Although it looks like a cream sauce that can clog your arteries, it’s made with honey, lemon juice, vinegar, and Tahini.
Coffee caramel cake
Dinner is made, but you still have some tahini. What do you do with all that Tahini? Two words: Tahini pudding. You can make a tahini cake! You can!
One was done by Benjamina Ebuehi last year for the Guardian. It looks like a regular coffee caramel recipe, but the additions of Tahini give it a wonderful nut-free taste.
This is great for anyone with a nut allergy. This works well with carrot cakes.
Let’s get on it. Tahini cheesecake. The olive magazine offers a recipe for a set of no-bake cheesecakes. The base is made from crumbed Lotus Biscoff cookies, while the topping is sweetened by light muscovado.
Finally, the entire thing is finished with dulce de leche. It’s already delicious.
Anna Jones suggests that Tahini can also be used in blondies. Because she wanted to make them for her special day, her recipe is birthday chocolate chip tahini brownies. My recipe in August. Just saying.
Chocolate banana ice-cream
You may have heard of banana ice cream, a banana that has been chopped and frozen to make soft-serve ice cream.
We will end with Minimalist Baker’s slightly more complex version. After making the ice cream, add some tahini, maple syrup, and cacao powder, then blend again.
Hey presto: upmarket ice cream