Monday, March 7, 2011

Tahini tutorial.

So as promised I'm doing a tahini tutorial. Making home made tahini is really very easy, there is only one tricky past (but we'll just cross that bridge when we get there.)

So to start of you roast the sesame seeds. Apparently you can make "raw" tahini, but it is MUCH more bitter then the average kind. This is actually the most difficult part of the whole tahini making process, because you need to find the perfect roasting time - on most sources I've found it was 15 minutes on 170 C. I didn't use a timer (ignorance is bliss) and although the seeds were only slightly browned, after a few minutes of blending they ended up looking like this.

The smell was overpowering burned as was the flavor. So I ended up trashing that batch and starting from scratch. Moral of the story, it's better to under-cook then overcook the sesame seeds.

Alright, so you take your roasted sesame seeds and you stick them in your food processor or vita-mix (a powerful hand blender worked for me).

Blend, blend, blend

After about 10 minutes (the time will vary depending on what you are processing the seeds with) it will start to look like this.

Keep blending until its drippy and looks something like this.

I've found tahini to be a tad too bitter for me on it's own ( perhaps I under-roasted the sesame seeds) but I was able to make the most amazing hummus with it.

Not my picture, but it looked EXACTLY like this...

And if you're wondering why go through all this trouble to make something you might not even like, here is some encouragement:

Health benefits of sesame seeds:
  • A high source of mono and polyunsaturated fats, sesame seeds help in maintaining a healthy cardio-vascular system. In addition to this, these seeds have significant amount of saturated fats as well.
  • The magnesium present in the seeds helps prevent asthma, by lowering airway spasm, controlling high blood pressure and restoring the normal sleeping pattern in women suffering from the symptoms associated with menopause.
  • Magnesium also aids the body in preventing the spasm of the trigeminal blood vessels, which is the main triggering factor behind migraine attacks.
  • Sesame seeds also have a high copper content. This mineral is essential in a number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzyme systems and therefore helps relieve the pain and swelling associated with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis).
  • The high levels of calcium and magnesium present in these seeds help build bones, enhance bone density, lower the risk of osteoporosis and also regulate the body metabolism.
  • Sesame seeds are especially high in dietary fiber and proteins. Hence, they provide the required protein levels to the body and also help add roughage in the intestines.
  • The mineral iron, present in these seeds, is very essential in the process of respiration, at the cellular level. It helps carry oxygen to the cells, by synthesizing hemoglobin in the body.
  • High in zinc, sesame seeds help in healing wounds and strengthening the immune system of the body.
  • The dietary fiber, along with the phytosterols, present in these seeds lowers the LDL levels in the blood and helps maintain blood glucose levels.
  • Sesame seeds contain lignans (the plant compounds), which are essential antioxidants that act against cancer, by reducing the cell damage caused by free radicals.
  • 1/2 a cup of sesame seeds contains 3 x more calcium then a cup of milk.

So try it, you just might like it!

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