Welcome to sesame street
Now that tahini has managed to untie itself from the famous hummus, it's finding its way into cookies and Asian delights. City chefs tell us how
Carpaccio is now being served across restaurants in vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions. It is, indeed, a supple dish, brimming with umami goodness, but tahini isn't what we imagined it with. But at this eatery, there's something called a tuna tahini cucumber carpaccio made with house-made tahini that lends a tangy flavour to the dish. "The combination of tuna and tahini is a flavoursome one. While being healthy, the condiment also adds a palatable sourness and bitterness to dishes," explains chef Momin Faqi.
At KODE, Kamala Mills Lower Parel.
Time 12 pm to 4.15 pm; 6.30 pm to 1.30 am
Cost Rs 595
Crispy aromatic duck. Pic/Ashish Raje
What the duck?
Due to its fat content, tahini is calorie-dense with one tablespoon supplying about 90 calories. How is this ingredient both calorific and healthy? Restaurateur Prashant Chaudhri explains, "A tablespoon of the condiment has 8 gms of fat, but most of it is healthy, unsaturated fat. Tahini also provides some protein, fibre and many nutrients, including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and Vitamin B." At his Asian diner, tahini is used in the crispy aromatic duck, which is served with crêpes, shredded scallions, cucumber and duck sauce. "The tahini plays an instrumental role in the duck sauce by giving it a rich texture," Chaudhri adds.
At Chin Chin Chu, Navratna Apartments, Juhu.
Time 12 pm to 1 am
Cost Rs 595
Pureed cauliflower and broccoli soup. Pic/Atul Kamble
Nutty 'n' nice
One of the chief reasons for tahini's popularity is that it is a great replacement for those with nut allergies. "Additionally, it can help improve and strengthen the immune system as it has high levels of calcium and protein, while being low in sugar and saturated fats. It contains more protein than milk and most nuts," explains Makarand Samant, executive chef at this Arabian bistro, where tahini is used in the puréed cauliflower and broccoli soup.
At Maffy's — Pan Arabian Bistro, Apollo Bunder, Colaba.
Time 12 pm to 1 am
Cost RS 285
Cardamom roasted pumpkin and mixed green salad
Explaining why tahini is gaining currency as a condiment in different foods beyond the confines of Mediterranean cuisine, director at this restaurant, Sarabjit Singh Keer, says, the easy availability of its key ingredient — sesame seeds, could be a reason. "Over the past few years, Indian markets have embraced ingredients from foreign cuisines and that could be another reason, too," he adds. At his diner, the nutty condiment has found its way into the cardamom roasted pumpkin and mixed green salad, where the tahini, which has a strong flavour, is mixed with yoghurt. "Yogurt is probiotic and creamy, so when combined with tahini, it makes for a perfect salad dressing," Keer shares.
Sarabjit Singh Keer
At Alfredo's, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu.
Time 7.30 am to 12.30 am
Cost Rs 395
Tuna zoodle salad
Health is wealth
Tahini as a spread, dressing, sauce or dip is nutritious. A mix of good fat and protein, it is a perfect spread to use for keto dishes and a great addition to a plant-based or vegetarian diet," says executive chef Subhash Shirke, while explaining about the tuna zoodle salad available at their health café. "We use the tahini dressing for the salad and serve it with nori strips. The earthy, nutty flavour of tahini works well with the subtle tuna and the nori sheets that bring in the umami," Shirke adds.
At The Pantry, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
Time 8.30 am to 11.30 pm
Cost Rs 495
How the cookie crumbles
Tahini is a hit with bakers due to its nutty profile and luscious texture that allows it to become a substitute for butter, particularly in vegan desserts. Rajat Mendhi, who helms Bombay Picnics, a curated Sunday lunch, serves a tahini chocolate chip cookie. Raveena Taurani of Yogisattva, a plant-based food venture, whips up tahini cardamom cookies.
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