This is my least favorite word to say in Hebrew besides every word that has an “r” in it. I can’t roll my r’s well, and it’s a huge problem for me when I go to order an Americano at a coffee shop and, well, I just sound so American! But this is my least favorite word because the “t” sound and the “kh” sound are so back-to-back you hardly get a chance to reorganize your mouth before it’s time to get to the next consonant. It’s so unlike what it’s referring to: a smooth, neutral tasting dip that goes on salads, meat, vegetables, falafel, inside sandwiches and cookies (well, at least raw tehina does), or can be dipped into with pita, chips, pita chips, fingers, spoons, and, okay you get the idea. It’s the most versatile paste ever.
The Arabic word tahinia, means “to grind,” which makes sense because tehina is a paste made from sesame seeds. You can buy it naked in the store and then you get to dress it up, kind of like Barbie. I like mine with cucumber and dill/dried parsley. I’m salivating.
Here’s how we do it:
1/2 cup raw tehina paste
1/4 cup lemon juice
1-4-1/2 tsp salt (depends on your taste)
1/4 tsp garlic; minced
1/4-1/2 cup water (**if you are putting in the fridge for later, you’ll want 1/2 c of water because it will thicken in the fridge. if serving it immediately, you can stick with 1/4)
toppings: 1 persian cucumber (Trader Joes); finely chopped or 1 tblsp dried parsley, chopped dill or mint (optional…but not really. just do it!)
and (please read on!) ADD WATER LAST!
You must add water at the end, otherwise it will become a disastrously tough consistency. And speaking of consistency, it’s really fun to watch how this changes consistencies with each new ingredient. Be sure to stir this well and add some dried parsley, fresh dill (chopped) and get your favorite vegies for dipping. But pay attention because tehina in very high in calories, though it’s also very healthy. Keep in mind, this is a base. Feel free to add more of anything, though it’s unlikely you’ll want to add less. If you want to make homemade hummus, tehina is a key ingredient. So you can also think of this as practice. We’ll get to hummus (one of my favorite words to say in Hebrew…khoo-moos) another time! And don’t forget to check out the Yogurt-Tehina Dip.
Too thick? Add water tsp by tsp
Too thin? Add more paste
Just tastes too plain? Add more lemon, salt and/or garlic slowly.