Red tahini in metro Detroit?
Does anyone know of a source for this? Apparently it is specific to the Gaza Strip area. Wikipedia discusses it, but I've never seen it. Gotta be somewhere in the wealth of Middle Eastern groceries around here.
Unfortunately, I can at least tell you where NOT to look-- Supergreenland in Dearborn. Maybe the biggest ME store around (directly across from Al Ameer). They have fourteen kinds of tahini, from Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, etc.. But, no red. Sorry. I'll continue to keep my eye out. Maybe I'll check One Stop Kosher next time I'm there, too?
My understanding is that red tahini is made from slow roasted sesame seeds. In contrast the much more popular traditional white tahini is made from soaking or boiling the seeds which leaves them colorless or pale. Some food brands (e.g. Arrowhead Mills distributed by Walmart) offer a tahini made from roasted seeds, but do not call it red. In fact they all have a peanut butter color--the same color as familiar roasted sesame seeds. I am perplexed how Gaza Palestinians can produce a red color from roasting the seeds. I wonder if they just add sumac to make it red? Sumac, of course, is the sour cherry-red spice that is commonly sprinkled on sesame-based hummous.
Tahini is very simple to make--sesame seeds + olive oil + food processor. I would be tempted to make it myself, toasting the seeds in the oven.
My contact at the Gaza-based food site Palestine Food explained to me today why red tahini is red: "Red Tahini is made of roasted sesame seeds , white tahini is made from raw sesame seeds ." No mention of sumac or any other red spices. Roasted sesame seed tahini is readily available in East Dearborn markets, but it is not red to my eye. It is brown. Nevertheless, the flavor differs from the more common white variety.
I was at One Stop today and in need of tahini, so why buy one kind when I could buy two? On the left is Achva tahini, product of Israel, no mention of roasting. On the right is Joyva, product of the US, claims to be roasted. The Achva could be called red, has a much "darker", roastier flavor, and the texture is fabulous: very smooth, no separation. The Joyva is decent, but much lighter in flavor, and had a great deal of oil/solid separation.
ETA: The Achva tahini is made from whole sesame seeds. They also have a crushed sesame seed variety. Maybe that's the difference?
In other news, I think I now officially need a separate condiment fridge.