Developed from various sources. The softening trick is from the Cookie and Kate website.

I’d recommend making your own tahini, as it’s easy, and better than shop tahini. But you can use shop tahini if you’re in a rush.


  • Can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Large clove of garlic
  • Salt
  • Sesame seeds (or tahini)
  • Cumin
  • Olive oil
  • Smoked paprika (optional)


Drain and rinse the chickpeas. (You could save a few for garnishing at the end.) Put them in a saucepan with half a teaspoon of baking soda, cover them with water, and boil for twenty minutes to soften them. Strain them, rinse them in cold water, and set them aside.

Meanwhile, pound a garlic clove in a pestle and mortar, or use a garlic press. Put it in a small bowl with some lemon juice and a teaspoon of salt, and leave for at least ten minutes, preferably longer, to mellow the garlic’s flavour.

Make the tahini. Put a few tablespoons of sesame seeds in a powerful food processor and blend for a few minutes until they form a thick paste. Add a little olive oil — perhaps a tablespoon — and blend for another minute or two. You’ll need a silicone scraper to gather it together and ensure it’s all mixed. Leave it in the blender.

Grind half a teaspoon of cumin seeds to a powder and add it, the chickpeas, and the garlic mix, to the blender. Blend, drizzling in at least a tablespoon of olive oil.

Adjust taste and consistency with water, olive oil, salt and lemon juice as needed.

Serve in a bowl with, as you wish, olive oil, smoked paprika, an olive or two, or a few chickpeas to garnish.