“Today, as a chef, tahini never leaves my side…..As a sauce it enhances any grilled protein and whenever I host a barbecue I make certain to place a pot of it at the dining table.”Josh Katz, chef-patron of Berber & Q, in The Financial Times
Things to do with yoghurt-tahini sauce
This sauce is very quick to make, and enhances all kinds of dishes:
- You can make fried halloumi chips and serve with the sauce to dip in.
- Or layer the halloumi with the sauce, wrap in filo pastry and bake.
- Serve it with Lamb Hiding in Mozzarella – or, indeed, with any kind of meatballs
- Over a plain, grilled fish especially a chunky white fish such as halibut; or with salmon or sea trout
- It goes extremely well with Vaguely Turkish Kebabs
- Or with lemony chicken kebabs
- It forms part of an Israeli dish of chickpeas, cauliflower and boiled egg
- Serve over grilled or roasted vegetables, especially green beans and asparagus
- Use it as a salad dressing; or in a salad dressing made with honey, soy sauce, and an old sherry vinegar
- Or serve it as a dipping sauce for crudités and flatbreads with a dusting of smoked paprika
- One of chef Josh Katz favourite ways to eat it is folded through puréed pumpkin, or adding rose harissa to it, thus….
“….turning tahina sauce a beautiful rich red and giving it a fiery kick which works with just about everything.”
Unexpected fact about tahini
Did you know that tahini on its own (not as this sauce) raises a cherry tart to another level? It’s also an essential ingredient of halva, a sort of middle-eastern sweetmeat.
Variations on the method below
Some people make their tahini sauce by simply whisking together tahini (120 ml/½ cup) with a couple of cloves of garlic crushed with half a teaspoon of salt, lemon or lime juice (120 ml/½ cup) and iced water (60 ml/¼ cup). I prefer the method below which includes cumin and yoghurt.
Others don’t use salt, or use less salt and substitute fish sauce, or a mashed anchovy, or a small amount of Gentlemans Relish.
You can also add in generous handfuls of freshly chopped green herbs.
Recipe for a yoghurt-based tahini sauce
- 120ml/½ cup Greek yoghurt – or more if you like it loose rather than stiff
- 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed with half a teaspoon of smoked salt
- 1½ tbsp tahini
- juice and zest of half a small unwaxed lemon
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- some freshly ground black pepper…or even better some Urfa pepper flakes
- some good, peppery olive oil for finishing
- Dry fry the cumin seeds, and crush in a mortar and pestle.
- In a small bowl mix together the yoghurt, most of the cumin seeds, and the garlic-salt mix.
- Grate in the zest, but don’t clean the zester (save the zest on it for garnish).
- Squeeze in the lemon juice.
- Stir all together.
- Drizzle over a little finishing oil, and garnish with the remaining lemon zest, the remaining cumin seeds, and the pepper.