Make your own tahini
There is hardly an ingredient that is not more closely associated with the Levant than tahini. Without the sesame sauce, hummus would simply be a mush of chickpeas with garlic and lemon. It is the creaminess of tahini that makes the popular dips & creams of the Levant what they are: True delicacies!
I used to buy tahini in bulk at the oriental supermarket. You probably know this too: the tahini you buy is often a bit older and has travelled a long way. So it takes a long time for it to reach the shop shelf. It also sits around in the shop for a while. This causes the sesame oil to separate from the sesame mousse. The result is a nice double decker, but you have to mix it thoroughly before you can use it as an ingredient. The quality is also often variable. Sometimes you get really good tahini and sometimes, unfortunately, a bit too bitter.
In the meantime, I prefer to buy lots of hulled sesame seeds and make my own tahini. It's so easy that I wondered why it took me so long to get my A**** up and finally give it a try. Because all you need is sesame seeds. That's all you need!
Of course, you also need a blender that has a bit of power and doesn't have a circulatory collapse after 5 minutes and give up the ghost because of gasping for breath. But you don't need anything other than sesame seeds.
Mix until the doctor comes
The first time I made my own tahini, I was a bit sceptical. How on earth is 100% sesame supposed to turn into such a velvety, oily paste? And can my blender even manage to grind these tiny grains? My doubts shrank with every second that the little sesame seeds rotated in the blender. At first it felt like nothing was happening and they were just being spun around in circles like a merry-go-round, but after a few short minutes something happened.
First, the consistency became flaky and you could see directly how the grains turned into coarse meal. A few moments later, the mixer could already hold more sesame seeds. Then everything happened very quickly. The previously still single seeds became a mass, then a ball, then it became creamy, then at some point really liquid. Exciting! When I put my hand to the mixer, I noticed that the mass inside was really warm. That was due to the friction. And that's exactly why the oil came out of the sesame seeds until it all blended into a mush. The result: the best tahini!
After blending, I put the tahini in a sterilised jar and always have some for the next portions of hummus. And when it's empty, the blender has to get to work again 😉
Before the mixing comes the roasting
The beauty of homemade tahini is that it turns out the way you want it. Before the sesame seeds go into the blender, they are first gently toasted in a pan. It's important to stick with it and keep moving and stirring the sesame seeds so they don't burn. I love it when the wonderful smell of roasted sesame spreads through the kitchen. You can determine the degree of roasting yourself and thus the intensity of the flavour of your tahini. I roast the sesame seeds for a maximum of 10 minutes on medium heat. The sesame seeds then remain rather light, but get enough heat to intensify their flavour.
The first mutabbal with your own tahini
There are many legends about mutabbal. Some say that mutabbal is a cream made from aubergine and tahini. That is correct. Others say that mutabbal is a cream made from chickpeas and tahini. That is also correct. I'll make it short. Mutabbal is a way of making a cream. Hummus, baba ghanoush etc. belong to the type of mutabbal. A cream made with garlic, lemon and lots of tahini. My first mutabbal with homemade tahini was hummus. And I can tell you, it was the best hummus I have ever made myself.
Why should you make your own tahini?
Unfortunately, I don't think you can get tahini in every supermarket. And if you do, it's often really expensive. The quality often varies too. If you make your own tahini, you are the master of quality! Treat yourself to peeled organic sesame seeds. Determine the intensity of the flavour by roasting the sesame yourself. And finally, a very important point: you know that there is only 100% sesame in it.
Here is a small FAQ
It all depends. Most of the nutrients lie dormant in the hull. Unhulled sesame seeds therefore usually contain the most nutrients, whereas hulled sesame seeds have fewer of them. Tahini made from unhulled sesame is slightly more bitter, darker and not quite as fine. Tahini made with hulled sesame is less bitter and more velvety.
No! During mixing, the sesame seeds are not only ground, but also heated by the friction. This causes the sesame's own oil to escape and creates the well-known sesame puree.
Tahini will keep for several weeks in a well-sterilised jar. Store the tahini in a cool, dry and dark place. However, keep in mind that tahini will eventually go rancid and will not be as tasty if you don't use it.
How to make your own tahini
- 500 g Sesame (hulled)
- Toast the sesame seeds in a coated pan over medium heat for approx. 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the roasted sesame seeds to the blender and blend for about 20 minutes. To avoid overloading the blender, take frequent breaks and use the time to push the sesame seeds off the walls of the blender with a spatula. Continue blending the sesame seeds until you get a liquid paste.
- Put the finished tahini into a sterilised preserving jar.
Great instructions! This is the best DIY tahini I've ever made without adding oil or anything. Thank you! Probably the patient roasting is the highlight....
wow, thank you so much for your great feedback. I am very happy that you are so happy with the tutorial 🙂 .
As a Syrian ex-Bedouin, I consume a lot of tahina, and only the more expensive good brands, so Rafik's recipe came in very handy. I also didn't know that tahina is so easy to make "in principle". "In principle" because I first had to pay my dues. The problem was not the poor description of the recipe, but the fact that my cooker obviously understands "maximum 10 minutes on medium heat" differently from Rafik's cooker. So I had to make three passes, which made my bin very happy.
The first version was a dark terracotta-coloured mousse that smelled deliciously of toasted sesame seeds, but was palate-cancer-inducing and had nothing to do with the usual taste of tahina.
The second version did not lead to palate cancer, but was a light terracotta coloured mousse, still very tasteless and not suitable for consumption.
In the third version, I curbed my roasting frenzy considerably. I roasted for 6 minutes at 4.5 out of 9. The colour is perfect, the taste could be a little more intense. My satisfaction level is 85% and since all good things come in threes, I left it at the third version.
I should actually end here, but I would like to say a few words about the equipment mentioned in the recipe. I myself own a good food processor which, due to its design, is totally unsuitable for thick creams and the like. It is absolutely unsuitable. That's why I've been thinking about getting a food processor with a different design for a while. So without further ado, I ordered the food processor linked by Rafik. It was delivered the next day. It is simply fantastic. All the problems I had with the old machine have been solved. The multilingual, detailed manual is well illustrated and easy to understand. So absolute recommendation.
I also ordered the 500 ml preserving jars as I don't have any jars with airtight preservation due to the rubber ring and the wire clip closure. From bad experience, however, I was a little afraid that the jars would not reach me in one piece. The opposite was the case. They were all so perfectly packed that they were absolutely "unbreakable". And then came this "déjà vu": They all had a sticker. Who doesn't know it? Soaking for hours in hot soapy water and the cursed things, viciously applied with 2K glue, still don't want to be removed without a trace. Nothing of the sort. They could all be removed in one go without leaving any residue. I have never experienced that before. It wasn't important, but I was simply thrilled.
Last but not least, dear Rafik, I would like to thank you for your great post, which, like all your other fantastic recipes, was wrapped up in a nice anecdote.
Glad you exist
Hello dear Fares,
You've been on a bit of an odyssey - and a daredevil cooker 😀
I'm very glad you've tamed your cooker and found the right roasting level for you. Maybe your homemade tahini will even make it to 100% satisfaction in the future. Anyway, thank you so much for your fantastic feedback and for sharing your anecdote with us. I am really pleased! Your praise spurs me on and makes me very happy.
Thank you for the recipes. I have been looking for recipes with zatar for a long time and have now found what I was looking for. These recipes are really good.
Thank you very much! I am very pleased that you like the recipes so much.
I don't have a food processor. Will this also work with a blender?
Hello dear Fadja,
If you have a powerful blender with a chopper, it might work well. Feel free to try it with a smaller amount. As the sesame seeds need to be blended for a long time, some blenders may give up beforehand.
Thank you for the great tutorial for the tahini. I had long been looking for a recipe that can do without additional oil 🙂 After a few minutes, the wonderful tahini was ready.
Just a few days ago I discovered your beautifully designed HP. The vegetarian and vegan recipes meet my taste.
Have a great start to 2023 and keep up the good work!
Thank you so much for your great feedback. I'm really glad that you like the blog so much 🙂
Keep up the fun exploring and cooking!
Where do you buy the sesame seeds? I always see only small containers in the store...
You can buy good sesame seeds at the drugstore. Otherwise look online at "Koro".