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Related Ingredients
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Tasting Notes

Here, Michael Mina gives us the low-down on making tahini from scratch.

Ground sesame seeds are the base for this rich sauce. Their nuttiness and sweetness round out the distinct, assertive flavors of pungent garlic and spicy chili flakes. Yogurt lightens the sauce and adds a slightly tart, tangy flavor. Fresh lemon juice gives the creamy sauce an acidic punch.

Tips & Techniques

  1. Garlicky goodness. The intensity of the garlic flavor in this dish depends on how finely the garlic is processed. Coarsely chopped garlic won’t be as pungent as garlic that is finely minced. To fully release the garlic’s flavor, use the fine-toothed cutters of a Microplane grater.
  2. The most from your toast. Michael recommends slow-toasting the sesame seeds in the oven for more control and a more developed flavor than you’d get if you toasted them on the stovetop. Keeping the seeds under low heat for a longer period of time coaxes out their flavorful oils.

Toolbox

These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1. Spice grinder. When grinding seeds in amounts that are too small for a blender’s blades, a spice grinder ensures a smooth, fine texture. A coffee grinder will also do the trick, but you’ll need to clean the blades carefully to prevent flavor contamination between your spice cabinet and coffee pot. To clean, just grind some raw rice or a small piece of bread after each use. The residual spice dust will adhere to the rice or breadcrumbs, which can be tossed into the trash.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

 

Knife
Baking sheet
Spice grinder
Microplane
Pyrex
Bowl
Strainer
Whisk


Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, as needed
  • Salt

Serves: 4

Total time: 5 minutes

Active time: 5 minutes

Method
  1. Place seeds in spice grinder and grind into fine powder. Transfer to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except the salt and lemon zest. Whisk together well.
  2. When the mixture is smooth, gradually add lemon zest and season to taste with salt. Depending on the lemons that you are using, you might need additional lemon juice. Adjust to taste, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice at a time.

Here is a great way to turn this dish into a meal

Chicken skewers with yogurt tahini & quinoa

Cut chicken into strips and skewer them. Grill the skewers with other seasonal vegetables. Toss the grilled chicken and veggies in garlic oil and serve with the yogurt tahini and a side of quinoa.

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