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Having grown up in a household dominated by Middle Eastern cuisine, tahini is one of my very favourite things to eat. Back then, I didn’t know it was a health food – I just loved the taste.
To the uninitiated, tahini is a thick, stiff paste made from ground sesame seeds. It looks pretty unpromising in the jar – an unappetising, oily, beige-coloured sludge. But, trust me, this stuff is addictive.
Tahini has an intensely nutty taste and is very versatile – you can make it into an amazingly zingy dressing that livens up everything from a roasted sweet potato to grilled fish or meat; use it to make the Middle Eastern dips hummus or baba ganoush; or make something sweet with it.
These days, thanks to my eldest son’s tahini habit, we go through at least one jar of it every week. He eats it morning, noon and night and favours his very own concoction which he created one day when he fancied a dessert and couldn’t find one. He mixes tahini with honey, raw cacao powder, coconut oil and almond butter. This is a rough (and healthier) approximation of a chocolate-flavoured halva – a flaky, sesame-based Middle Eastern sweet that’s delicious but very high in refined sugar.
I use tahini mainly as a dressing/dip. I mix it with some water till it loosens up and add in loads of freshly squeezed lemon juice, a few grinds of Himalayan salt and then throw in some freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.
You can buy two main types of tahini: hulled and unhulled. Unhulled tahini, made from the whole sesame seed, is darker and nuttier and has its full nutritional value intact. Because of its high fat content, tahini is often seen as an unhealthy food choice…but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Here’s why we should all be eating more of it:
There you have it: a nutritional powerhouse and delicious to boot. And if you’d like to see Max and I in action preparing tahini, check out our video.
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