I am not that adventurous with food when I eat out. My philosophy is this, if I am going to pay for it, even if someone else is paying for it, I will be pissed if i don’t like it. So I stick to my usual. If I hate what i am served, it ruins the entire dining experience. For me, dining out is not just about the food but the experience i.e the decor of the restaurant, the ambience, the smell too, the immaculate tablecloth, sparkly clean dinner service, the efficiency and pleasantness of the wait staff, the company I am dining in and of course the food. Now, get one or two things wrong and everything goes downhill from there.
I have been getting requests to make Shawarma for a while and I really am not a huge fan anymore. I am guessing it’s because the ones I have eaten here have obliterated my memories of the delicious ones I have had in Nigeria. Now, I think Shawarma and go Ugh, with shivers. Besides the best Shawarma I have ever eaten was at a kebab shop in Paris. If you read my Steak au Uziza post, you would have read me mention this kebab shop. Since then, I haven’t eaten shawarma – Xmas 2009, to be precise, I don’t want anything to spoil the memories of the one from Paris. Then came a work dinner do I went to last week and Mediterranean Greek style food was on the menu. I am still a little so so about Greek food. Don’t love it, but don’t hate it either. I like Tzatziki though, when it is done well. This time I decided to try Tahini sauce just because I saw it as a list of ingredients in Esther W’s Shawarma on Facebook.
Without reading that post, I know for sure I would never have tried Tahini Sauce that day. For me to go adventurous with food in a restaurant, something about it must intrigue me. I found that it was okay but I sat down there and said to myself, I know just how to make it better. I quickly took down notes on my phone for when I did make it. And make it I did. Loved playing around with the flavours, and I would like to invite the sous chef of that restaurant to come taste mine. Waaaaaaay better than his/hers for sure.
So, what is Tahini? It is basically a paste made from blending Sesame seeds with oil. That’s all. For my readers in Nigeria, before you go scratching your head about sesame seeds, we have it locally homegrown. It is called Beniseed. Isasa in Yoruba, Ridi in Hausa and Ekuku in Igbo. Tahini is the base for many dips such as humus and tahini sauce, you can mix it in with butter, make a dressing out of it with citrus juice, zest, honey, veggies, the list is endless. I will be discussing Tahini Sauce in the next post. Believe me, you want to read that one too. Deeeeeeeeeeeelicious, and fresh, and green and zingy.
You will need
1/2 cup Sesame seeds – isaa, beniseed, ridi, ekuku
4 tbs sunflower oil – or any oil of your choice
1. Spread out the sesame seeds on a baking tray
2. Place in the oven and set at 190 degrees centigrade (375 Fahrenheit) for roughly 8 minutes. You could stretch it to 10, but make sure the seeds don’t get brown. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: By the 5 minute mark, when you take a quick peek at it, you would notice that the natural oils of the sesame seeds have been released and the sesame seeds stick to your fingers.
By the 8 minute mark, the aroma wafting from the oven is just gorgeous. Nutty, earthy crisp. You would want to eat it directly from the tray, and you should. Toasted sesame seeds are fabulously tasty.
see, you don’t want the sesame seeds browned, just toasted enough to release its natural oils and crunch up a bit. By the way, cooking with Sesame seed oil rocks by the way. In salads too, uhmmmmn, yum, yum.
3. Pour into a food processor, add the oil and blend till it forms a smooth paste
Ta daaaaaaa. As sesame seeds are also native to Nigeria, I guess we can rename this is we want. What do you guys think?
…………Here’s your Tahini paste ready to be whipped into anything you wish.
As this is the run up to Easter weekend, be prepared for a daily dose of goodness from Dooney’s Kitchen to fill you up with ideas for your Easter party