Onion-chipotle tahini dip

I’ve been going through massive quantities of vegetable sticks and dip, particularly since Hanukkah, after eating my weight in donuts during the first few days of the holiday. I think I was starting to feel a little deep-fried myself, actually. Fortunately fresh, crispy peppers and carrots are the perfect antidote, and that probably holds for most holiday excesses.

A rich-tasting dip makes the crunchy vegetables seem a bit more decadent, and here the base is tahini. In coming up with this recipe, I had in mind a flavor palate more akin to barbecue sauce than your standard tahini with parsley, ubiquitous at every falafel stand and hummus restaurant.

I generally try to stick with ingredients available locally, but I admit that chipotle may be hard to find here — mine was purchased during a visit to the U.S. But smoky chipotle peppers seem to be slowly creeping their way onto restaurant menus, particularly in sauces served alongside hamburgers — the next ingredient trend, if you will — so they must be getting it somewhere.

I haven’t actually tried looking for it here, but I’d start at a store with lots of imports like Eden Teva Market. If that fails you, you can always find it online.

That, and for once, my readers in the U.S. shouldn’t have a problem finding ingredients (OK, aside from the raw tahini, but still).

As you’re making this recipe, you’ll see some great kitchen chemistry in action, a trick that my friend Irit loves when making her own tahini for her restaurant. As you add water to the raw tahini, which is thick and tan, it will become increasingly whiter and liquid, but once you add the lemon it will “sieze up” as if you added gelatin (it may take a few minutes for the full effect to set in). I can’t say I understand the science behind it, but like many other aspects of kitchen chemistry, it makes for great food.

Note: If you’re using the thick dregs of tahini from the bottom of the jar, it will throw off the quantities since it is more concentrated than regular raw tahini.

For two cups’ worth:

  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (warning: the dip will be a bit spicy!)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

Prep time: 5 minutes

Blend all the ingredients except for the lemon in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add the lemon last, and blend until incorporated.

Serve as a dip alongside the food of your choice, such as vegetable sticks or crackers.

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