We eat lots of hummus and so go through quite a bit of tahini. I’m pretty sure when people set out to reduce their waste, their hummus intake becomes inversely proportional. There’s likely a mathematical theory that proves this.
This past weekend, I cooked two cups of chickpeas in my pressure cooker for hummus but then realized I had very little tahini on hand. I can buy tahini in bulk at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco but I don’t get there as often as I’d like to. I did, however, have bulk sesame seeds and bulk toasted sesame oil in the pantry. Several people on social media had told me that they make their own tahini so I thought I would give it a try.
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, or as much as needed to reach desired consistency
1. Toast sesame seeds in a skillet over medium-low heat for about five minutes. Toasting develops a nuttier and more intense flavor. But be careful! The sesame seeds can easily burn. While toasting them, stir almost constantly. After you toast them, spread them out on a cookie sheet or very large plate to cool. Otherwise they will continue to toast in the pan.
If you prefer, skip the toasting step. For this post I did make a second batch of tahini with sesame seeds I hadn’t toasted. It tastes good but I do prefer the nuttier toasted version.
2. Whir the seeds around in a food processor for a couple of minutes, until crumbly.
3. Add the sesame oil. I used toasted sesame oil. You can use olive oil also. Whir around for a few minutes more. The tahini will become creamier.
4. Continue to whir around for several more minutes. It may seem that your tahini will never become creamy when all of a sudden it does. Be patient. It won’t take that long. If after five minutes, your mixture still has a crumbly consistency, add a small amount of additional oil (e.g., a teaspoon or so).
If, like me, you don’t love washing your food processor more often than you need to, make hummus in it right after you take out the tahini. I have two hummus recipes on my blog to choose from, one standard recipe and another with preserved lemon (so good).
You can also make tahini with black sesame seeds—the unhulled version. I found these more difficult to grind up but they made good tahini also.