You can do a lot with tahini…though you may not. If you are like me or a couple friends I was talking with recently, you may buy a jar, because you like the idea of it, you know you can make hummus out of it, and there must be more you can do with it, but, nevertheless, after the hummus, or maybe using it as a spread like peanut butter or stirring it into soup, it might sit in the fridge unused for a long time.
Similar to smooth peanut butter in texture, it has a nutty taste and smell, but, made from ground sesame seeds, there’s something richer about it, and a little goes a long way. So recipes for it often include lemons or lemon juice, which balance that richness.
Well, I had a new jar of tahini, and I had lemons. I could’ve made hummus, but when I saw I had tofu, I decided to make patties, and expand my tahini repertoire. And I pulled out cilantro and garlic to go with all that, too.
I thought tahini added to mashed-up tofu would add a nice flavor and also bind it all together. So I added a half-cup of tahini (one-quarter cup at a time to see how much I would need) to a 15-ounce package of extra-firm tofu, which I mashed up til it was all broken up. Then to that, a good handful of chopped cilantro and two minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper.
It held together well, and depending on the size, you can easily get six or seven patties out of it. Because I had sesame seeds, I also coated each side with those, and then set them in the fridge to firm up a little.
I heated canola oil in a pan over medium heat, making the oil a little deeper than just coating the pan. Then, in two batches, I fried the patties, turning them once, cooking them on each side for a good three minutes or so.
A couple broke, but only because of small pieces of tofu I hadn’t crumbled well.
A bit of crunch on the outside, creamy on the inside because of the tahini, and, of course, the nutty sesame flavor. I cut the lemon into wedges to squeeze their juice over the patties, which added a brightness and, yes, balanced the richness.
I just had them as they were, but they would be great with a corn tortilla or pita or naan, with just lemon juice squirted over top and the addition of lettuce or thinly sliced cucumbers, or maybe the drizzle of cucumber-yogurt sauce.
And now I have another way to use tahini.