Sunday, September 28, 2008

Craving Techina, Easy To Make At Home

Thankfully, my latest food craving is a healthy one.

Techina, flavored sesame paste or butter. In recent years, you can buy ready-made t'china/techina in all sorts of food stores and supermarkets all over the world. But I don't like the store-bought variety.

It's really easy to make your own. Recently, I have less of an appetite for meat, poultry, dairy and even fish, but t'china or even a spoonful of the untreated sesame paste attracts me more than ice cream. I admit that if I had Hagan Daz mint chip, nothing could keep me away from that.

Health food mavens (experts) tout sesame as very healthy:

Sesame seeds are 25 percent protein and are especially rich in methionine and tryptophan, often lacking in adequate quantities in many plant proteins. One ounce of decorticated or hulled seeds contains 6 grams of protein, 3.7 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of total fat. When toasted they lose nutrients, scoring 4.8 grams of protein, gaining a little fiber at 4.8 grams, and packing 13.6 grams of total fat.
The fat in sesame seeds is 38% monounsaturated, and 44% polyunsaturated which equals 82% unsaturated fatty acids.
Natural sesame seeds (unhulled) contain 5 grams of protein per ounce, 3.1 grams fiber, and 14 grams of total fat. When toasted they offer 4.8 grams of protein, 4.0 grams fiber, and 13.8 grams of total fat.
Because sesame seeds are a plant food, there's no need to worry about cholesterol. There simply isn't any to be found within the seeds or the oil.
Tahini or sesame seed paste, contains 2.9 grams of protein per tablespoon, .9 grams of fiber, and 8.1 grams of total fat. Tahini also contains the B vitamins, including16 mcg of folic acid. That same tablespoon contains 153.6 mg calcium and 3.07 mg iron. Additional minerals include 57.9 mg magnesium and 93.12 mg potassium.

T'china is very easy to make. The basic recipe is three equal parts:
  • sesame paste
  • lemon juice
  • water

Mix them together in a bowl or cup with some garlic and parsley. The parsley's optional; dried is fine and any other spice you want. I don't use salt.

Most people just "eyeball" the quantities. If that's too frightening for you, prepare it in a transparent glass.

  • first put in a Tablespoon or more of the unflavored paste, which can be bought in healthfood stores and many supermarkets
  • add a similar height of water and then the same height of lemon juice
  • mix well with a spoon or fork
  • add seasonings, like fresh or dried garlic, paprika, parsley etc.

That's it. The color will lighten as it mixes. Different qualities of paste need slightly different proportions. Trust your own taste buds.

You can eat it as a dip for fresh vegetables, or spread it on bread, or with felafel or really with anything!

There are very few cravings healthier than techina!


rickismom said...

I find that it is much easier to mix the water in bit by bit, letting it drizzle from the faucet.First I add the lemon juice (or in a pinch, vinegar--but I use less than equal amount)Start adding water dradually, beating quick and furiously. It gets thick first, then thins out gradualy. The you can get the texture as you like it. (But the texture will thicken more in the fridge.) I yes add salt, garlic, sometimes chopped dill, sometimes a bit of curcum. My son makes with zahtar, but I hate that.....

Batya said...

Thanks for the ideas. I also like parsley in it. Fresh garlic's a treat.
There are some great sesame pastes in the stores, not like years ago, when there was only one.