Very few people use Tahini – a ground sesame seeds – although it is available practically everywhere. Tahini seeds are inexpensive, they can survive longer and can be best stored in domestic refrigerators.
If you are from a Middle Eastern family, I’m pretty confident that you know what Tahini is. Just a little dash of it will make any Middle Eastern dish awesome.
Tahini is a bit tricky to use. When it is mixed with other ingredients, it thickens really fast. If you are cooking Tahini paste after mixing, you will have a really hard time stirring it.
Water plays a critical role in this salad. It takes care of all the stirring issues when it comes to Tahini. Add garlic and cumin in minimum quantities, some onions, tomatoes and a couple of tablespoons of hot water to the salad dressing and voila! You have an elegant dish in front of you.
Here are some interesting techniques you can use. If you like raw onions strong, you can skip soaking them; but this step, known as “killing” the onions, tames them nicely. Just to be sure that the taste of the dish remains, add tomatoes unseeded. The flavor and the juice which they impart are simply amazing.
I noticed that when I add cubes of stale, grilled or toasted bread, it just turns into something like Panzanella and I love it that way! You can provide the finishing touches to the dish by dressing it up. For a more tasty combination, you can add chicken or shrimp.
I am already feeling hungry…
— Tomato & Onion Salad With Tahini Dressing —
~ Salt and pepper to taste
~ 4 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
~ 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
~ 1/3 cup tahini paste
~ 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
~ 1/2 garlic clove, peeled and minced, or to taste
~ 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
~ 1 medium red or white onion, peeled and diced
Soak onion in salted cold water while preparing other ingredients, about 30 minutes. Whisk or blend together garlic, tahini and cumin, and add lemon juice; the mixture will become very thick.
Thin with hot water, a tablespoon at a time, just so the mixture can be spooned. It will thin further when tossed with tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss onion, tomatoes and parsley with dressing. Taste, adjust the seasonings and serve. Yield: 4 servings.
Here’s a little tip: Do not hesitate to add some more ingredients of your choice to this recipe. Test it out and may be you’ll have something interesting.
Adding some chilis or something else can change completely the taste. It all depends on you.