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How to Make Thick Tahini Sauce
Toronto's falafel shops vary widely in quality. The tahini sauce is one of the ways to tell if you're dealing with the real thing or a cheap imitator. Watery tahini that pools in the bottom of the pita without sticking to anything on the way down is a sure sign of an inferior establishment. And tahini sauce isn't just important for falafels. With its balance of tangy lemon, salt and sesame, it makes a great salad dressing, and it's fantastic in pretty much any vegan meal-in-a-bowl that includes quinoa. So you can imagine my disappointment when tried to make it for myself and got low-quality, tahini-flavoured water. I obviously had something to learn about technique. Turns out that tahini needs to be handled in a certain way if you want the sauce to be thick and rich. You can't just throw the ingredients in a blender and press start, as the cookbook I was using had suggested. Fortunately, the fix is really simple and it also provides vegans with a new use for their underused whisks.
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons' worth)
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup tahini paste
1/2 cup ice water
I start with tahini paste, which is just pure, ground sesame seeds.
Put the tahini paste in one bowl and the lemon juice in a second bowl with the salt. Mix the contents of both bowls well. (The oil in the tahini probably separated, so it will need a particularly good mix.)
Place the cup of ice water nearby and get your whisk. Add the tahini to the lemon/salt mixture.
Start whisking. After about 10 seconds, you should notice the mixture coming together and thickening dramatically. Stop whisking.
Add a litte ice water and whisk again.
The same thing should happen, but the mixture will be a little thinner. Continue adding little bits of ice water and whisking until you get a consistency a little thinner than ketchup. That's the sweet spot for salads, quinoa bowls and falafels.
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Posted: Saturday, February 6, 2016