Many years ago now I first fell in love with peanut butter. I was quite late to the show, but think I have made up for it ever since. Yes it was packed with sugar and refined palm oils, and probably rhymed with ‘hippy’, I’m sure it was the exact same one that lured us all in in the first place. Gradually I discovered almond butter and cashew buter, then started making my own nut butters (if you want a real treat make some macadamia buter, it will blow your mnd!).
A favourite foodie of mind, and I’m sure he features on most peoples’ cookbook shelves, Yotam Ottolenghi, now he was the one who led me to discover tahini. I’m going to have to admit, I wasn’t much of a fan. Eating peanut butter by the spoonful, now there’s no need to ask. However tahini, I found it too bitter. Sesame seeds have this rich smokiness that you grow to love.
As I scrolled through Instagram, seeing countless posts from nutritionists and dietitians smothering tahini on EVERYTHING. Toast, spread it with tahini. Roast sprouts, dip ’em in tahini. Porridge, drizzle with tahini. Medjool dates, stuff them with tahini. Your arm, dip it in tahini (I definitely made that one up, please don’t go dipping your arms in tahini, I cant imagine it would be the easiest thing to clean up). But I just couldn’t do it.
Determined as I was, I made a vow to myself to learn to love it. And love it, now I do.
I’ve been buying either the dark or light tahini by a brand called Meridian for a while and then making my own nut butter, but never made my own tahini. God knows why, it’s so flippin’ easy.
So here’s a recipe, kinda not recipe, for tahini. There’s not much to it. All you need is a fairly strong food processor, preferably a Vitamix (oh a girl can dream). But I have an old Kenwood food processor, it’s older than me (and I’m 20) and that does the job just nicely. Just expect to leave it running for up to 20 minutes. It gets bloody noisy, just grin and bear it, the end product is so so worth it!
The type of sesame seeds you use here will affect the flavour, black sesame seeds are sweeter, perhaps the colour is slightly off putting for some. The ebony black hue makes me love it even more, as they say black foods are the ultimate superfoods. The unhulled sesame seeds will make it slightly darker coloured, slightly more bitter (maybe just for the tahini aficionado), and the hulled will have the flavour you’re used to when bought from the supermarket. Half and half is a good route to go down, and that’s what I did here.
- At least 1 cup Sesame seeds (hulled, unhulled or black)
Yep that’s it, I haven’t forgotten to type out half the recipe. The food processor does all the magic.
- Heat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan.
- Put your sesame seeds in a metal tin and place in the oven, leave until they are lightly golden and they smell toasty. Keep checking and stirring to make sure they colour evenly.
- Tip into your food processor, pop on the lid and start whizzing. The seeds like to crawl up the sides of the processor, so keep going back to it every few minutes and scrape down the sides.
- The sesame seeds will look like they’ll never get there but keep on going, suddenly the oils will release and you’ll have some liquid sesame lusciousness.
- When the tahini has formed a paste, the same texture as nut butter, add a good pinch of salt and blend for a minute longer.
- Pour into a jar and keep in the fridge, and there it will be waiting for those spoon dunkings.
It may seem a lot more effort than it’s worth when you can buy a jar without any of the hassle. But a bit of DIY always ends up cheaper, and what else would you rather be doing on a lazy sunday, Netflix can wait!