Thursday, August 21, 2014

Maple tahini dressing

There are two products that are proving elusive in standard UK supermarkets. One is carob powder, and the other is tahini. Both can be ordered online or picked up in larger health food stores, but I have been surprised at not being able to find them readily (although it is possible it is just my local stores!).

I will source both of these ingredients eventually, but while I'm waiting, I thought I would give homemade tahini a try. After all, it is just processed sesame seeds. I have made nut butters before; how hard could it be to make tahini?

The (potential) makings of tahini

For me, it turns out, quite hard! With hindsight, I should have toasted my sesame seeds to facilitate easier processing and enhanced flavour. My mix did not reach a buttery state. Moreover, I didn't like the taste. I remembered too late that I like unhulled tahini. My sesame seeds were hulled.


With things not going to plan, I thought that maple tahini might be a good idea. I figured that the syrup would help loosen the mixture, and improve the flavour at the same time. Nope. The 'tahini' just seized up, and I still didn't like the taste.



On the cusp of a kitchen disaster, I shifted away from tahini spread and towards tahini dressing. Water, almond milk, salt and lemon juice saved the day. The result is an ultra-creamy dressing that works beautifully on kale, and paired nicely with a quinoa-based salad I'd previously prepared for lunch. The dressing isn't something I'd have set out to make (creamy dressings aren't usually my thing), but it is infinitely better than the tahini that wasn't!


If you do like creamy dressings, this is a nice alternative to standard dressing options. It has a bit of sweetness, a bit of tang, and an underlying sesame hum.



Maple tahini dressing
This creamy dressing is slightly sweet and very satisfying
Makes about 1-1/2 cups
Vegan

Author: Bite-Sized Thoughts


Ingredients
1 cup sesame seeds (mine were hulled but unhulled should work too)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
3/4 cup water
1-1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1 to 1-1/2 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
1/2 tsp salt

Method
In a food processor or high-speed blender, process the sesame seeds until pureed, stirring occasionally as needed. The mix should be semi-smooth and clumping together.

Add the almond milk, water, maple syrup, lemon juice and salt to the sesame mix and process until smooth.

Serve over salad, grains or even tofu.


 Have you made tahini?!

29 comments:

  1. I love tahini based dressings (and kale salads), will have to give this a try! I have attempted tahini in the past, with similar results to yours. Fortunately these days I live near a great Middle Eastern grocery and can buy it in massive quantities whenever my heart (er, stomach) desires!

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    1. I think buying tahini is definitely the way to go! Perhaps that's where I should be looking - Middle Eastern grocery stores.

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  2. I'm all about the creamy dressings and this sounds great! I love that you were able to turn your experiment into a kitchen success. I've tried to make tahini before, but i had a hard time getting it smooth enough without adding oil to it. The tahini I buy at my Indian grocer does not have added oil and they have a really good price on it, so I stick with just buying that.

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    1. I'm glad it isn't just me that has struggled with home made! I need to find an Indian grocer :)

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  3. I just finished my jar of tahini yesterday and was thinking about making my own next time. Sorry it didn't work out for you. I'd have thought a food processor might be a better bet than a magic bullet? I actually prefer hulled sesame tahini, though I'm sure the unhulled has more nutritional benefit.
    Carob is definitely absent from UK supermarkets but tahini isn't. I'm certain I've bought it from Waitrose and Sainsbury's before. Maybe check out the "fancy ingredients" section!

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    1. I think a food processor would definitely be better :-) Mine is still on a ship somewhere, so I thought I'd try the Magic Bullet instead - it did work quite well, but I had to stop and scrape down the sides / tap it very frequently. Possibly that didn't help with my final results either!

      It's great to hear tahini is available without too much looking. I will check out the 'fancy ingredients' sections and also try Waitrose again (sadly we don't have one within walking distance, so I get there less often).

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  4. Wow, thanks for sharing your experience in making it. I had a similar time with making sunflower seed butter – pretty funky tasting! I like how you saved the tahini with lemon juice and milk. :)

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    1. I will remember to stay away from sunflower seed butter too! It seems seeds are trickier to work with than nuts :P

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  5. i make a seriously great lemon tahini dressing.. definitely need to try your maple version. looks delicious.

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    1. I think lemon and tahini and beautiful flavours together - maybe next time I'll skip the maple and give yours a go for contrast :-)

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  6. i would love to make one and try this recipe that you just shared! Thanks, Kari!

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

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    1. Thanks Julie - I hope you enjoy it!

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  7. I go hot and cold on tahini - sometimes it is just the wrong flavour for me and yet I would not be without a jar in the fridge because I have many recipes that I love it in - esp vegan cheese sauces (which are probably not a reason you would need it) but I also have a favourite chocolate tahini biscuit recipe which I return to every now and again. How strange that it is not easier to find in the UK - I guess you only find it in the health food section of supermarkets here but maybe our middle eastern population (well in my suburb at least) means it is more mainstream here. Nice save with the dressing - and you can never go wrong with maple syrup

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    1. Indeed - maple syrup goes a long way to fixing many things :-) I was used to finding tahini in the 'health' sections of Coles and Woolworths which really only stocked mainstream health products so it is a surprise to find it missing here. As you say, it may be a population thing - I could buy plenty of Carribean and African ingredients instead of my elusive tahini!

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  8. I see you're making good use of your nutri-bullet, Kari. We use ours every day and although we've only had it a couple of months I don't know how I could live without it. I'm sorry the tahini didn't work out but you certainly turned lemons into lemonade with this lovely dressing xx

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    1. I actually went a few days without using mine this week, and it was quite odd! I'm glad you're still enjoying yours, and mine is back into action after it's temporary lull :)

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  9. Ack, at least you found a way that eventually satisfied you. Do you have Vegan Eats World? The Sesame Wow Greens basically has you make your own sesame paste and I didn't have any problems with it but perhaps I never anticipated making tahini, either. Anyways, those greens are fabulous. I should make them again, too.

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    1. I don't have Vegan Eats World but I will be trying to find that recipe now! Thanks Janet.

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  10. Hi Kari, I've tried this to but it is jsut lumpy for me. I've made almond butter though with no trouble! I love the sound of the nutri-bullet

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  11. why oh why does unhulled taste sooo much better than hulled? I don't know why but it does it just does.
    Excellent save Ms Kari :-)

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    1. I still think of you every time I have tahini, because you opened my eyes to the wonders of unhulled - and thank goodness you did :-)

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  12. Carob has been on my 'to try' list for years, and I still haven't managed to find it in our health food stores. Tahini is much easier to find though, and most supermarkets should stock it. My favourite brand is Achva which I buy from Tesco (I think it's on the World Food aisle) Here's the link: http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=273446826 It's also available from Morrisons. Tahini's also available from Sainsburys & Waitrose - http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/Shopping/FindProducts.aspx?Query=tahini If you can't find it in the store, it's definitely worth asking at Customer Services.

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    1. Thanks so much Sharon!! That is really helpful - I wonder why our local Tesco isn't able to do it? We can't seem to order it online from Sainsbury's or Ocado either, but I will definitely try online Tesco next time. I have now got both carob and tahini, I'm pleased to say, thanks to a Planet Organic visit ;)

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  13. I felt quite frustrated when I couldn't find some of my "staples" during my time in Korea. I sure hope you'll be able to find them in your area soon ;). And I salute your creativity in the kitchen. I would've just stopped and called it a day, but you were able to turn it around and create something delicious! Maple Tahini Dressing…love the sound of that!

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  14. Tahini is a versatile ingredient, I love tahini! Man, I’ve always wanted to try homemade tahini, but I’m glad that it worked out for you as an ultra creamy dressing! I absolutely love creamy dressings, looks wonderful with the maple syrup (mmm)!

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    1. Isn't tahini great? Like you say, so versatile :-)

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  15. I haven't had much luck making tahini either! Love the sound of the dressing though, i do like tahini in dressings :-)

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