Tag Archives: tahini

An Ode to Tahini

I am a tahini addict. I love the stuff. Some may shudder at the thought of eating it straight out of the jar, but I consider that on par with peanut butter straight. Heaven. So often tahini is a backup singer in a recipe – unappreciated and unassuming, you only notice when it’s not there. Hummus. Falafel. Fudge. Halva. Dressings and sauces. I am often hesitant to use my favourite ingredient in such applications, as I feel that the list of ingredients and flavour combinations are not up to tahini-standards. And so, to all my fellow tahini-lovers out there, I offer you these three ‘recipes’ (I use the term loosely) that feature tahini as the star. And rightly so!

Tahini-Miso Dressing

This idea originally came from a flip through Veganomicon. As a single cooker, I never ever make salad dressing. Too many mason jars have ended up with interesting bacteria cultures from half-finished dressing. I took the idea of tahini and miso, added my own single-serve ratios, and method from my single-person Asian peanut sauce (taught to me by a former roommate). As the title suggests, this dressing combines tahini with miso, another favourite ingredient. A dash of vinegar or lemon juice for acidity, and you have an amazing dressing for any salad you create.

1 tsp. tahini

1 tsp. miso

1 tsp. white vinegar, lemon or lime juice

1) In a measuring cup, combine all ingredients.

2) Whisk vigorously with a fork, until the vinegar acts as an emulsifier and everything is combined. Adjust viscosity by adding water (1/4 tsp. at a time).

3) Serve!

*This recipe is easily scaled up for the size of your salad. Just keep the 1:1:1 ratio of tahini:miso:vinegar, and you’re set!

Simple Tahini-Sriracha Crudités

Lovely Lovely Vegetables!

Lovely Lovely Vegetables!

I have been known to eat an entire plate of fresh vegetables from the farmers market for lunch. There is nothing wrong with this! And my favourite way to eat these vegetables is with this simple presentation. The tahini and Sriracha are a marriage in heaven, while still letting the vegetables shine through. After all, when you have farmer’s market carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and tomatoes, you don’t want to wreck that freshness with a heavy dressing.

This isn’t really a recipe, as such. Arrange your raw vegetables of choice on a plate or in a bowl. Drizzle tahini on top (to taste). Finish off with Sriracha. Enjoy!

Tahini + Sriracha. Amazing.

Tahini + Sriracha. Amazing.

Frozen Banana Tahini Molasses Split

As the saying goes, desperation is the Mother of invention. This dessert was born from the need desire to have banana soft serve one summer evening. However, it was also over 40dC, and the frozen bananas were turning into an unappetizing brown mush before even exiting the food processor! Add to this all those extra dishes, and I went the lazy route. Since I have yet to make my banana-date soft serve – this dish is the dessert of the summer!

Similar to the crudités, slice a frozen banana into approx. 1″ long pieces. Split each piece in half, and place the banana pieces flat side-up on a plate. Drizzle tahini overtop of the banana pieces. Follow up with blackstrap molasses. Enjoy!

Tahini + Blackstrap Molasses. A perfect topping for frozen bananas. Divine!

Tahini + Blackstrap Molasses. A perfect topping for frozen bananas. Divine!

I hope these three simple ‘recipes’ featuring tahini bring you as much joy as they do me. Try them out – I can think of no other ingredient that can hold its own with miso, Sriracha, and blackstrap molasses with such delicious results! Oh Tahini, I love you so.


Roti and Hummus: Two Ways

On Plate: Left: Tamarind Hummus, Right: Red Lentil Hummus; with roti
And of course a nice selection of crudités!

When it’s too hot to spend copious amounts of time at the stove, my go to has always been hummus. I always have some form of a hummus dip/spread on the go, and this platter was no exception! I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of two different styles of hummus with two different beans. I made a chickpea based hummus flavoured with tamarind and tahini, in the style of the Arabian Gulf, as well as a red lentil hummus flavoured with tahini and lemon, a flavour combination most associate with hummus. This also gave me the perfect excuse to try my hand at making Rotis. The result of this taste test was a satisfied tummy, delicious hummus spreads, and the knowledge that I have mastered the skill set required for rotis and can make them in less than 30min!

*Note* The hummus recipes that follow are the ones pictured above. I follow a standard formula for all hummus attempts, and season on whim as I go. Beans I have used range from lentils, black beans, black eyed peas, navy beans, fava beans, and of course chick peas. I also make hummus without any oil, so if you prefer add 1 tsp. – 2 tbsp. of olive oil to any hummus recipe. Successful flavour combinations include: “Southwest Hummus” made with black beans, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, and chili powder; “Curry Hummus” made with curry powder, cumin, coriander, and a dash of turmeric and cayenne; “Fresh Hummus” with roasted bell peppers, fresh cilantro, parsley, basil, and lemon; and the lower fat varieties with pureed cauliflower or mashed sweet potato for bulk (delicious!).  These are not by any means the end of the combinations, so if interested I could post a hummus ‘primer’ for those out there!

Roti

Roti are one of those flatbreads that are all-purpose and appropriate for anything you could imagine. Of course there is the traditional use of a utensil in your daal/curry creation, but I have also made Roti PB&J sandwiches, roti chips, roti pizzas … I was scared off of making my own roti when I accidently set my oven on fire making chapati’s (roti’s cousin) a couple of years ago. But when the craving hit this time I was called to the kitchen – albeit with trepidation. I needn’t have worried! Rotis are super easy to make, and even easier to cook. All you need is a standard skillet, and you are ready for business. Just like cooking a 30s. pancake, you will have delicious roti’s faster than it’ll take for you to cut vegetables!

I used the following recipe: Roti/Chapati.  Initially I did have problems rolling out the roti’s to the desired thinness, which is why the ones above are such interesting shapes. However, on my last roti I decided to try and roll the dough out sandwiched between two pieces of parchment paper. Worked like a charm! To save on mess and frustration, I strongly recommend doing this, or using thick plastic wrap when making flatbreads like roti, pita, and na’an. My confidence in my flatbread making abilities has skyrocketed so much that I am thinking I may be ready to tackle gobhi parathas (cauliflower stuffed flatbread)!

 Red Lentil Hummus

Using red lentils in hummus makes a delightfully creamy spread. The picture of the hummus above is a bit runny because I forgot to adjust my liquid ratios with the bean – chickpeas require more liquid to puree than red lentils. The spread did thicken nicely in the fridge, but next time I will endeavour to take into consideration the type of bean used! As it was this hummus made for delicious dips and spreads in wraps. I used my standard flavour profile for this hummus, which works for any type of bean: chick pea, lentil, black bean, navy bean … my food processor has not met a bean it does not like! The base recipe is below, however with this standard hummus I encourage you to play with the spices, ratios, and flavours! Taste, add, blend, and taste again – that’s the secret to perfect hummus!

Red Lentil Hummus

1½ cups cooked red lentils
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. tahini
1½ tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. ground cumin
⅛ tsp. cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1) In food processor, puree all ingredients until smooth. Taste for seasonings; adjust as necessary
2) Place in storage container and chill in fridge at least 1h prior to serving to allow flavours to meld. Tastes even better the next day!

 Tamarind Hummus

This was a new experiment for me. My tamarind paste lives beside my (store bought, and thus little used) red Thai Curry paste (Thai Curry Hummus? Experiment for the next batch!) and I wanted to use it. Tamarind gives a distinctive flavour to a variety of dishes; from pad thai to chilis to Middle Eastern tagines and couscous pilafs. Tamarind itself is a pod-like fruit that looks a bit like a broad bean and tastes almost a tangy lime molasses in concentrated form. It can also be found as a brick of compressed pulp from the fruit, which when chopped tastes fantastic in chilis. You can make your own concentrate from the pulp, but I usually buy a small jar at an Asian, Middle Eastern, or Indian grocery. A little goes a long way, so that small jar will last a very long time! Added to hummus and it creates a completely different flavour profile than the standard recipe above – one that is tangy and tahini like at the same time and completely addicting.

 

The recipe I used for this first attempt came from the cookbook Classic Vegetarian Cooking From the Middle East and North Africa, by Habeeb Salloom. The recipe is also posted here: Chickpea and Tamarind Dip (Hummus Bi Tamar Hindi). Enjoy!


The Ultimate Guide to Ice Cream

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”

Banana-Date Ice Cream with Tahini-Molasses and Pistachios Toppings previously posted here

Nothing hits the spot like ice cream. Delectable and delicious, it is a wide open canvas for your flavour imagination. I started experimenting with formulas for the best ice cream ever, and I am my own worst critic. I wrote down every trial. I used a food processor, a blender, and once a whisk. I don’t own an ice cream machine, so all my trials also included the elusive method to get silky smooth texture and not ice crystals after it froze solid. The result? This guide that will hopefully help you satisfy your every frozen treat craving. No ice cream maker required. From the quick-and-dirty single serve ice cream with one main ingredient, to a formula for sorbets and sherberts for a fresh fruity splash, and the decadent version for when you need to get chip faced. All flavour combinations have been kitchen tested by 3 separate kitchens with rave reviews. But don’t let this list be the end of your creativity! I have other ideas for flavours that haven’t been kitchen tested yet such as Oreo ice cream, S’More ice cream with a chocolate base and mix-ins of graham crackers, mini-marshmallows, and dark chocolate squares with caramel filling, or even avocado-mango-tequila for a Mexican night. I love throwing things in a food processor and creating flavour profiles. For the adults who have just had a horrible day, Kahlua, vodka + espresso, gin, or even tequila are also welcome additions to this ice cream – call it a mudslide and drink it out of the bowl. Life is always better after a mudslide!

A note about the secret ingredient: Bananas. Frozen bananas have magical properties. When placed in a food processor, it turns into the consistency of Dairy Queen soft serve, and doesn’t really taste like bananas. Just by adding ½ tbsp. of cocoa powder, you can barely tell that you are downing a bowl of fruit it tastes so much like real chocolate ice cream. Which means of course that you can have two bowls!

A note about kitchen appliances: I have tried to make ice cream in a blender, and was unsuccessful every time. I needed too much liquid for the blender to actually blend for it to be classified as ice cream. But I hear amazing things about a VitaMix, so if you have one of those I’m not stopping you from trying! And if all you have is a blender consider the following dessert smoothies.

Perfect Ice Cream: The Formula

Bases:
Single Soft Serve: One-Ingredient Magic
1 medium banana, frozen and sliced (½-¾ cup sliced)

Sorbets and Sherberts
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh fruit, sliced
2½ cups water or non-dairy milk (flavour dependant)

The Decadent
2 large bananas, frozen and sliced (2 cups sliced)
½ cup soy yoghurt
¼ – ½ cup non-diary milk

Flavours:
Some suggested flavour combinations/stir ins:

– Vanilla: 1 tsp. vanilla

– Citrus additions:
o For the liquid, use juice such as orange, grapefruit, or cranberry
o 1 tsp. orange, lime, and/or lemon juice
o Grated orange, lime, and/or lemon rind

– Date Flavour:
o 8 dates, pitted and chopped
o 1 tsp. vanilla
o ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
o 1 tbsp. honey, agave, or brown rice syrup (optional)

– Chocolate (and Nut Butter):
o 2 tbsp. cocoa powder (or carob powder)
o 1 tbsp. nut butter: peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower seed, etc.
o 1 tsp. vanilla

– Fruit Explosion:
o 1 cup frozen fruit

– Pumpkin Pie:
o ½ cup pureed pumpkin
o ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
o ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
o ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
o Dash of ground ginger, ground cloved

– Suggested Sorbet Combinations:
o Tropical fruit and coconut milk
o Fresh citrus fruit and combination of same fruit juice, lemon, and lime juice
o Fresh berries and choice of liquid

– Suggested non-dairy milk and yoghurt: soy, almond, coconut, hemp. Rice milk may work but may be too thin.

Stir-Ins and Toppings:
Add any of the following as the mood fits:
– Frozen fruit: wild berries, chopped mango, apples, dates
– Nuts: pistachios, peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans
– Bonus items: chocolate chips, brownie/cookie dough pieces, dusting of cocoa/carob powder, sprinkles
– Toppings:
o 1:1 ratio tahini:molasses
o 2 tbsp. chocolate chips melted, with ½ tbsp. nut butter stirred in

Directions:
1) In food processor, puree all Base ingredients until smooth.
2) Add desired Flavour ingredients. Pulse to combine.
3) For Single serve add Stir-ins and Toppings. Enjoy!

4) For Sorbets and Decadent, pour into glass bowl and freeze until begins to harden, ~4h.
5) Pour mixture back into food processor. Process until smooth.
6) Add Stir-ins. Transfer to final freezer container.
7) To serve, add Toppings. Enjoy!

I hope you find this guide helpful. Any suggestions are always welcome!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Single Serve
3 ingredients + one food processor = Nirvana!

     

Banana Mango Single Serve:
1/2 cup frozen banana, sliced + 1/2 cup frozen mango, cubed + dash of vanilla


Banana Date Ice Cream with Tahini-Molasses Topping

I have a love affair with frozen bananas. Consuming fresh bananas to me is akin to some sort of creative torture, but when frozen the bananas lose their texture and penicillin-like mouth coating and become something entirely different and delicious. My favourite snack is a piece of frozen banana dipped in peanut butter or sunflower seed butter. This mad love for the frozen fruit made me search out and ultimately create my own ice cream after recovering from the price shock of a pint of non-dairy ice cream. Who needs to shell out $7.50/pint when you can make it at home?

I have a base ‘recipe’ which is more of a guideline, which I tweak as the mood strikes. This particular version was created to match my Egyptian feast and so to keep with the theme I made banana-date ice cream. I remembered reading from a Vegan MoFo post that a popular dessert topping was tahini and molasses, and since my love of tahini knows no bounds, I decided to give molasses a shot at stardom. Too often molasses is disguised in bread products – it needed its chance in the limelight! Finally, I added some pistachios to sprinkle on top for a little crunch. The end result was a delectable, not-too-sweet, dangerously addictive (but thankfully healthy) ice cream that I cannot get enough of!

Banana Date Ice Cream

1 3/4 c. frozen bananas, sliced
6 pitted dates
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. water, or your favourite non-dairy milk for extra creaminess

Directions:

Before you start:
It is important that the bananas are frozen first. This is super easy – peel and throw into the freezer on a cookie sheet. When frozen, just stick in a Ziploc bag to use later!

Tip: If you are using dried dates, soak them in 1c. water for ~10min., to soften. Use the water as your liquid in the recipe.

1) Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides as necessary. To adjust for consistency, add water as necessary
2) Pour mixture into a glass bowl, cover, and place in freezer. Freeze until the mixture is somewhat frozen, ~4h. I usually judge by the sides of the bowl are solid, but the centre is still poke-able with a spoon.
3) Pour mixture in food processor. Process until smooth. This step is very important! It helps prevent ice crystals from forming in your ice cream.
4) Pour mixture into final storage container (yogurt containers, old nut butter jars …) and place in freezer.

To serve, take out of freezer and let thaw for ~5min to make the scoops look nice and pretty.

Tahini-Molasses topping:
2 tsp. tahini
1 tsp. Molasses – this can be date molasses if you are feeling fancy/have it, or the normal cooking molasses, blackstrap molasses, or whatever is in your pantry.
*Note: you can adjust the quantity to taste or to the amount of ice cream you have. The ratio is 2 parts tahini to 1 part molasses.

Directions:
1) Drizzle tahini and molasses on top of ice cream
2) Add shelled pistachios for extra decadence

Update: For more soft serve ideas including flavours, toppings, and mix-ins, check out my post Ultimate Guide to Ice Cream. Banana Date Ice Cream with Tahini-Molasses Topping was so addicitve I had to go crazy and try other combinations to find the next addiction!


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