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LA TAHINA, UN PRODOTTO DI PUNTA DEL MEDIO ORIENTE

LA TAHINA, UN PRODOTTO DI PUNTA DEL MEDIO ORIENTE

In my recipes, the word tahina repeats herself over and over again. And many people ask the question “What is this – tahina?” Once they even asked about the liquid or powder state. So …
Tahina is a sesame seed paste (somsom). Many have met and eaten tahini halva, it is almost white (how to be more precise?), Or rather, light yellowish or highly diluted coffee with milk. Available with peanuts and in chocolate, and in the East (Arab countries) they are sold with Seelan (date honey) and countless other flavor combinations. Yes, something I move away from the main topic, so in order for me to be more organized:

Tahini 1
TAHINI, A FLAGSHIP PRODUCT OF THE MIDDLE EAST 3

Where does its name come from?

“Tahin” and all its variations (“tahini”, “tahina” or “tahiné”) come from the Arabic tahinia. The root of the word means “flour” or “to grind”. In Arabic, the finished product is called thina.As for the famous magic

formula “open Sesame!”, From an the arab tale “One Thousand and One Nights” and taken up by Fernandel in the film Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, it would refer to the fact that the pods of the plant burst at full maturity , to let the precious sesame seeds escape.

What’s this?

A Middle Eastern condiment made from sesame, which comes in the form of a dense and rich paste. This one, also called puree or sesame cream, is sold in jars and varies from light beige to ocher or dark beige whan It made from 100% white sesame, or only 50%, with another half of whole sesame and some are even green or black, when it is made from seeds of the same colors, If you are already familiar with regular tahini I highly recommend trying one of these special seeds.

First, the sesame seeds are picked by hand. Small and oval, they are covered with a thin edible rind (slightly dried seeds that have retained their color) and heavily fried. Depending on this finished paste, it turns out either grayish-creamy, or almost red, or brown. By the way, tahina from unroasted seeds is much more common.

  • Here is a recipe found on the Internet (I do not cook it myself, as I think there’s a magic in original tahini that is made by hand according to the same recipe that was passed down from father to son for centuries).
    Dry 3 cups of sesame seeds so that they retain their color (almost yellow-white), 1 tbsp. vegetable (odorless and tasteless), and better sesame oil. Grind everything in a blender to a pasty state. Add oil if necessary. Store in the refrigerator for no more than 6-8 months. (No, I’m not wrong on dates, the sesame seed is known as one that does not accumulate mold and sesame-based products are preserved along with their nutritional values for a long time).

And now about some of the features of tahina.

  • Firstly, during storage on the container, a thick sediment forms, that is a normal state of separation of the oil from the rest of the paste. It is enough to mix the tahini before use so that the oils are absorbed back.
  • Secondly, when preparing sauces, lemon juice and water are often introduced into tahina, you can also use kefir. When liquid is added, first the thickening and stratification of oil and thick sediment occurs, which is eliminated with additional mixing. The mass becomes homogeneous and more liquid in consistency, and the color is almost white with a slight grayish or beige tint.
  • Thirdly, the paste can be bitter, this is a feature of the source material – sesame.
tahini 2
TAHINI, A FLAGSHIP PRODUCT OF THE MIDDLE EAST 4

IF WE GO BACK TO THE SOURCE?

Sesame is an annual plant of the Pedaliaceae family, native to Indonesia and East Africa. Considered one of the oldest plants harvested and one of the first condiments used, sesame was already cultivated in Mesopotamia 3,500 years ago.

A 4000-year-old illustration shows a baker on an Egyptian tomb incorporating sesame into his dough. Today, the biggest sesame producing countries are India, China and Mexico. But speaking of quality, the most special sesame comes from humera ethiopia, There, due to the special climatic conditions and years of culture, grows sesame seeds that are bursting with flavor and high nutritional values.

This oriental oilseed paste comes out of the cabinet and turns out to be a real sesame for healthy cooking. Take the seed!

IN WHAT OTHER FORM?

Tahini is just one of the possible uses for sesame. The seeds are simply eaten as they are, sprinkled on salads or scattered before baking on bread, pastries or buns in hamburgers .
A thick, amber-colored oil with a very pronounced flavor is also extracted from sesame, which is used in Thai cuisine or in wok-stirred preparations.
In addition Sesame oil is also used in the field of health. And is excellent for facial skin health.

HOW TO USE IT?

This rich and thick versatile paste is an excellent texturizer. In addition to providing smoothness, it reveals flavors of toasted dried fruits. In Lebanon, it is used in mezze such as hummus, made from mashed chickpeas with lemon, or baba ganousch (eggplant cream).

In the Maghreb, it is used in the composition of halva (a kind of nougat). In Israel, it is used to top freshly fried falafels. It can be spread, plain or with honey, or accompany raw vegetables.

WHAT CAN HE REPLACE?

Vegetarians make great use of it, because tahini is a great replacement to many types of butter milk and creams, while ensuring a small protein intake. It is sometimes necessary to dilute it because its texture is thicker than that of the cream.

As such, it can be used in the composition of cakes and desserts, serve as a base for a sauce, be incorporated into a soup, all this while providing its richness and its typical flavor, reminiscent of natural bitter hazelnut. 

IS IT HEALTHY?

Sesame cream is rich in unsaturated fatty acids (oleic and linoleic acids), which are beneficial to our cardiovascular system. Combined with the presence of natural antioxidants, they help make tahini an excellent food for nutritional balance.

Sesame also contains phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, calcium and selenium. Finally, by its high fiber content, it facilitates digestion and intestinal transit.

* If you have any questions – write. I hope the secret of tahina is revealed for you.

SPECIAL BONUS RECIPE, FOR THE COOKING LOVERS AMONG YOU:

Express recipe: Artichoke cake, hazelnuts and candied tomatoes.

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, mix 3 whole eggs, then add 2 tbsp. tablespoon of tahini and 15 cl of milk (cow or vegetable).
  2. Incorporate 100 g of flour and 1/2 sachet of baking powder, then 75 g of grated cheese. Salt and pepper and whisk well.
  3. Cut 100g of artichoke hearts into pieces, drain and cut 60g of sundried tomatoes in oil, crush 30g of hazelnuts and incorporate the whole into the preparation.
  4. our into a cake tin coated with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and bake for 45 minutes at 180 ° C. Enjoy warm or cold.

Green pea hummus
The original hummus, from the Middle East, is made with chickpeas and tahini (sesame puree). After our pink version made from beetroot, here is a furiously green variation!

  • Preparation: less than 20 minutes
  • Cooking: 6 min
  • For 8 people

Ingredienti

  • 300 g frozen peas
  • 1 tsp. tahini (sesame puree)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. tablespoon olive oil
  • salt, ground white pepper
  • 3 pinches of ground paprika
  • Tabasco

Preparation

  1. Bring a large quantity of salted water to the boil and cook the peas 6 minutes after resuming boiling.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and crush the garlic, squeeze the 1/2 lemon.
  3. Drain the peas and dry them with paper towels.
  4. Mix them in a food processor with the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and tahini. Season with salt and pepper and add a few drops of Tabasco.

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