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Chickpea Tahini

 

Chickpea Tahini is an extremely versatile food that can serve a number of purposes – in the making of sandwiches, casseroles, dips, salads, soups and so on.  Chickpea Tahini is essentially very similar to hummus (the popular Middle-Eastern Dip) in many respects, using cooked and mashed chickpeas (garbanzo beans) with a healthy blend of tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, olive oil using salt and garlic for seasoning. 
 
Ingredients and Preparation
 
Either canned chickpeas or else fresh chickpeas, after being soaked overnight, can be subjected to pressure cooking until softened to easily mashed consistency.  The chickpeas are drained and the cooking liquid or canned syrup (brine) is reserved. Chickpeas, garlic and tahini are combined together using a food processor; lemon juice is then added gradually. The final blend should be smooth and spreadable. Proportions of tahini and lemon juice added would depend upon the taste and feel desired. Some of the reserved liquid may be added if the mixture appears too "dry" or ‘pasty’. 
 
Presentation
 
The prepared chickpea tahini is transferred into a bowl, sprinkled with some paprika, drizzled with superior quality olive oil; garnished with an olive or a few reserved whole boiled chickpeas. 
 
Chickpea Tahini is served along with sliced baguettes, pita bread shaped into triangles, or raw vegetables like cucumber, carrot, asparagus sticks as a dip.
 
Tips
 
After cooking the chickpeas well enough, rubbing off the outer skins with fingers would result in an incredibly smooth and creamy texture of the chickpea tahini. Of course, nutritive value would be better retained if this step is skipped. 
While blending, it is necessary to ensure that all chickpeas are completely pulverized for optimum consistency. 
Salt maybe sparingly used in case of canned variety as chickpeas may already be salted.
 
Nutrition Information
 
Chickpea Tahini is rich in protein, iron, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, folate with the sesame seeds providing a good source of amino acids especially methionine. Thus this item makes for a complete protein when consumed with different varieties of breads. Manganese and molybdenum, trace minerals that play a vital role in energy release and detoxification, are also obtained.  Sesame seeds additionally add to the dietary fibre content and provide a source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, selenium and other minerals. The dish contains certain amounts of monounsaturated fats due to the olive oil used.
 
All these factors make it beneficial for consumption by young children, older adults, athletes, weight watchers, diabetics and heart patients. It can be an excellent option for vegetarians and particularly vegans.
Addition of some toasted pine nuts and pomegranate kernels would add crunch and increase mineral and vitamin content further, offering protection through antioxidant nutrients.