Cooking 101 – Homemade Tahini

This paste forms that base for several Middle Eastern spreads and dips which has gained much popularity recently with South East Asians. This sesame seed paste features in many Asian recipes as well for instance, Japanese salad dressings and shabu shabu dips. Click here for my Hummus recipe. Click here for Japanese Potato Salad recipe.

I am one who dislikes searching for tahini paste on the supermarket shelves so you can imagine my excitement when I found out how easy it is to make it. Raw sesame seeds and olive oil are available for purchase anywhere.

Being Chinese, stir frying in a wok is second nature. Hence, instead of toasting nuts and seeds in the oven, I use the wok. It is a speedier process, gives me greater control over how dark I like to toast my nuts or seeds and it is energy saving.

Over these many years of cooking, I have tested many brands of chopper blender combinations. Several years ago, I purchased a made-in Singapore handy blender and chopper manufactured by U-Like. My helper was new, I was teaching her to make rempahs for Nonya cooking and I wanted the convenience of a handy machine. Although it has been serving us well,  I wasn’t certain that I could use it for this purpose. I gave it a try. It worked and made a paste that is smooth enough for my purposes even though it is not as smooth as the commercially made tahini.

The recipe makes almost one normal jam jar of tahini.

001 Pan Toasted sesame seeds, edited re-sized

In a dry and oil-free saucepan or wok, toast the sesame seeds till light gold in colour and no darker.

There are 2 types of blade attachments. Be sure to use the one shown in the photo above to grind the cooled and toasted seeds. Divide the toasted seeds  into 3 portions. Grind each portion to a fine ground each time. Then add the olive oil to the ground sesame seeds to make a paste.

If your paste looks like this, thin it out with 1/2 tablespoon more olive oil.

Store tahini in a jar. Mark  and date the  jar – “Tahini made on …..”. Keep refrigerated.


Even though toasted seeds + oil were mixed together to be ground using this blade attachment, during blending squeaking noises were heard. Don’t use this blade to grind as you will eventually spoil your machine.

Homemade Tahini


  • 1 ½ cups raw hulled sesame seeds
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil


  1. Toast 1 ½ cups of raw hulled sesame seeds in a dry and oil-free saucepan or wok. Toast sesame seeds to a light gold and no darker. If not, the resulting tahini will attain the wrong flavour and colour. Remove from heat and cool before grinding.
  2. Divide toasted seeds into 3 portions. Grind one portion at a time for a fine grind. Be careful not to overheat the grinder’s motor. Grind 12 to 15 secs each time. Use the attachment that is meant for grinding dry ingredients – look for the flat 2–prong blade.
  3. Mix the finely ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of oil first. Add more oil depending on the consistency that you want.

One response to “Cooking 101 – Homemade Tahini

  1. Pingback: Recipe – Hummus | hints for the home·

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