Tahini, a natural boost of energy and taste

aleria_halvasfbMacedonian halva mousse, with praline from tahini and spearmint, lemon sorbet and caramelized Aegina pistachios, one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever tried, at Aleria Restaurant

Tahini is a power food produced by ground sesame seeds and is considered one of the most beneficial natural foods. It is a unique dietary “treasure” featuring a multitude of nutrients which are highly beneficial to our health.

Tahini is an oily paste made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds. It has the same texture with peanut butter, but it’s a rather healthier substitute. Although, both pastes contain a similar number of calories and fat per serving, classic tahini is preferred because it doesn’t include any salt or sugar.

xoumousHummus with tahini and cumin, accompanied by a pie kind of croutons sprinkled with paprika, great taste bud moments at Chrysa Chrysa 

Tahini is rich in proteins, vitamins (E, B1, B2), amino acids, trace elements, niacin, calcium, carbohydrates, iron and magnesium and provides your body with both strength and energy. It dramatically reduces cholesterol, and helps prevent osteoporosis. It also helps the liver, the nervous system and the digestive system to function properly. It has a soothing effect which reduces headaches and chronic migraines, and it also has a strong antioxidant, anticancer and anticoagulant effect as well as helping to prevent diabetes and cataracts.

Ancient Greeks would serve a mixture of tahini and honey at weddings, and Hippocrates and Galen recommended it as a medicine. It is no coincidence that, even today, tahini is still one of the basic constituents of the Greek Mediterranean diet. Apart from our Greek one, its use is also common in the kitchens of North Africa, Iran, Turkey and the Middle East.

mous_xalva2Unsurpassed tahini halva mousse with glazed dates at the cute Rififi

In our kitchen, tahini is a key component for tahinosoupa, a vegetarian soup with tahini and orzo or vegetables, and of course the localized hummus and halva. We also use it in soups and sauces, as a substitute for avgolemono (a mixture of egg and lemon used to thicken soups and sauces), in salad dressings, instead of margarine or butter on bread, and even in fasting pastries and bakes such as tahinopites (tahini pie) and tahinopsomo (tahini bread). It matches perfectly with honey, hot coco beverages and instant coffee and it is a stable addition to various recipes.

MLGFB Tip: How to make tahinosoupa (tahini based fasting soup)

tahinosoupa Ingredients: 4 cups of water, 1⁄4 cup of long-grain white rice, 1⁄2 cup of tahini, 1⁄2 cup of fresh lemon juice, salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan.
  • Add the rice and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until tender.
  • In a small bowl, beat the tahini and lemon juice (adding some cold water, if necessary) together.
  • Add this mixture to the rice, stir well, and simmer for about 5 minutes more.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Photo credits for tahinosoupa mamapeinao.gr

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