You do not need a special celebration to crown the queen of the new kitchen: the tahini. It deserves the title because of a unique combination of health, taste and dominant personality alongside the ability to easily absorb flavors such as sour, sweet and spicy.
Tahini is actually 100% sesame seeds. The oldest document on the use of sesame was written in cuneiform script 4,000 years ago and discussed the custom to serve idols wine with sesame seeds. In the writings of the historian Horodotus we learn about the systematic growth of sesame seeds 3,500 years ago in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
At the time, sesame was used mainly to produce oil. The popular tahini is produced from peeling sesame seeds, roasted and grounded through a number of machines that simulate a traditional millstone, until it becomes a hotbed. In this stage low heat and a slow and controlled rate are maintained in order to preserve the nutritional values.
Three weeks after production, the process of separating the oil from the sesame seeds begins – a process that makes it difficult to mix and leaves hard deposits at the bottom of the jar. Cold temperature slows the process, so it is recommended to store tahini in the refrigerator even when the container is still closed.
The whole organic tahini, in contrast, is crushed by cold pressing, without roasting and peeling. Organic tahini is produced without salt soaking and no added chemicals. The use of salt is mainly used to shorten the production process and the sesame peel.
Preparation of good home tahini requires little effort. Pour a cup of raw tahini into a bowl, squeeze in fresh lemon juice and mix with a Tahini Maker. The use of lemon juice before adding the water will make it easier to mix and ensure a smooth and shiny texture.
Add a little cold water – preferably mineral ice water (to ensure a light color) – and mix moderately. Continue until you get a thick, smooth texture. At this point tasting and adjusting seasoning, add water or lemon juice to taste, a little salt, a little black pepper – and the queen is ready. You can gently add garlic, parsley, cumin, olive oil and yogurt, but in a small amount that will not take over the taste of deep sesame.
Queen of Sheba
Ethiopian sesame is considered to be of better quality and flavor than that of South America, Kenya, Sudan and India. The highest quality sesame seed in Ethiopia is because of the good growth conditions and the rich soil in which it grows.
Amara, the Ethiopian tahini, is the highest quality of the group. It is made of whole, cold and organic sesame seeds. The sesame tahini is made using a traditional millstone made of black basalt stone, which allows for a thick, coarse texture. Its fine taste is sweet and has a gentle bitter tingling.
The seedling process of the sesame seeds is the great secret of this tahini, which provides more calcium (ten times more from milk products and four times more than any other tahini). The process of germination breaks up the oxalic acid found in the shell (it turns into sugar-sugar, which causes the tahini to have a slightly sweet color) and enables the full absorption of calcium and other minerals into our body cells.
How to prepare tahini? The only recipe to know
3/4 cup raw tahini (200gr)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix all the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth. If you wish, you can play with the quantities of water and lemon, in order to achieve the taste or texture you prefer.