Monday, November 15, 2010

Tahini Dip

There is something genius about Middle Eastern dips and appetizers which combine ingredients that seem unexpected and unrelated, but the resulting flavors are unique and addictive; this dip is one of those combinations.
This is an easy appetizer to serve at your parties. By the way, it goes best with pita chips and dry white wine.

Ingredients: (Makes about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons of plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
  • Crackers or pita chips, for serving

  • In a bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients until smooth. (Tahini tends to separate and clump up, just like peanut butter; make sure there are no lumps before you add the rest of the ingredients.) Add salt, spices and breadcrumbs, mix until smooth. Lastly add the walnuts and mix.
  • Put in a nice little serving bowl and serve with crackers.

Additional points:
  • Nowadays, you do not always need to go to an ethnic store for tahini, you can usually find it at your regular grocery store.
  • Depending on the quality of the tahini, sometimes the mix can get too thick or too thin. If it gets too thin, add a bit more breadcrumbs; if it gets too thick, add a bit more water/lemon juice or olive oil, and adjust the salt amount to your liking, if necessary. It should have easily spreadable consistency.
  • The consistency is best when it is freshly made. But you can definitely make this dip one day ahead and keep it in the fridge (it actually holds for several days in the fridge). Take it out a few hours before your guests arrive so it can come back to room-temp consistency.

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