Tag: Tahini

Legendary Dishes | Topik (chickpea-potato-tahini balls stuffed with caramelized onions)


This is a very popular Armenian dish, appreciated also in Anatolia. It is served cold but it can also be served hot, baked in a 180ºC oven for 45 minutes.

Six Portions

  • 1.5 kg onions, cut in half, sliced thin
  • 400 g potatoes, boiled whole until cooked, peeled, mashed
  • 400 g chickpeas, soaked in water for 8 hours, boiled until soft, mashed
  • 250 g + 35 g tahini
  • 25 g currants
  • 25 g pine nuts
  • 2 tsp + 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp + 1 salt salt
  • 1 tsp + 1 tsp sugar
  • Cinnamon, to garnish
  • Olive oil, to garnish

Combine potatoes with chickpeas and one teaspoon each of cinnamon, salt and sugar, 35 g of tahini. Form into a dough, set aside.

Sauté a third of the onions in a very large pan with a teaspoon of salt on low heat, cover. When the onions start to soften and release water add the second batch, increase the heat, cover. Add the third batch, increase the heat a little more, cover. The purpose is to soften the onions, release their water content and reduce them to a quarter of their original quantity. When the onions are completely soft, remove the lid and cook over a medium-high heat. The operation can take more than a hour, depending on the quality of the onions.

Add currants, pine nuts, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, one teaspoon each of allspice, black pepper and sugar to the onions, mix well. Cool, add the tahini and mix thoroughly.

Cut 6 pieces of clingfilm approximately 20 cm x 20 cm. Divide the chickpea-potato and onion-tahini mixures into 6 equal portions. Take a portion of the chickpea-potato mixture, and spread it flat into a round about ½ cm thick on the clingfilm. Place a portion of the onion-tahini mixture in the middle. Hold the clingfilm on all four sides and close up to make a round ball, twist the corners and turn over on a large plate or tray. Repeat with remaining mixtures. Transfer to the refrigerator for three hours or overnight.

Twelve Portions


  • 800 g potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed
  • 750 g chickpeas, soaked in water overnight, boiled, mashed
  • 75 ml tahini
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar


  • 3 kg onions, halved, sliced thin
  • 500 g tahini
  • 3 tbsp currants
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Cinnamon to garnish
  • Olive oil to garnish

For the shell combine potatoes with chickpeas and tahini, work in the cinnamon, salt and sugar, knead a little to form a dough.

For the filling sauté onions in a very large frying pan with salt on very low heat, stir from time to time. The onions should cook down to almost a quarter of the original quantity.

Add currants, pine nuts, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper and sugar to the onions, and mix well. Once cool add tahini and mix.

Prepare 12 pieces of clingfilm (approximately 20 x 20cm). Divide the chickpea / potato dough into 12 equal portions. Take a portion and spread on a stretch film in a round manner, it should be about ½ cm thick. Place 1/12th of the onion mixture in the middle, then hold from all four sides of the stretch film and close up to make  round ball, twist the corners and turn over on a large plate or tray. Do the same with the rest of the mixes.

Transfer to the refrigerator, chill for two hours. Ideally topik tastes much better the next day. The surplus may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to two months.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Allspice | Chickpeas | Currants | Onions | Pine Nuts | Potatoes | Tahini


Legendary Dishes | Ful Medames (fava beans with cumin, lemon juice, olive oil, onions and tahini)


Traditionally made with cumin, garlic and lemon juice, dressed with olive oil and eaten with flatbreads, modern versions include butter, boiled or fried eggs, onions, pastrami, pickled vegetables, tahini and tomatoes.

One of the great ancient foods, ful medames is steeped in Egyptian history. Archaeologists have dated ful medames to the Twelfth Dynasty (4,000 years ago), the Middle Kingdom of Amenemhet I, when this simple bean and bread dish was a stable food of the people of Upper Egypt.

Medames is Coptic for buried, ful for beans, so buried beans. After soaking for 24 hours the beans and sufficient water were placed in a pot that was buried in the hot sand. In later years they were cooked in a special copper pot placed in the dying embers of hot coals.

The variations come from the influences of other food cultures in the region. From Lebanon to the Sudan, embellishments include chilli flakes, cucumbers, curd cheese, olives, red pepper paste and yoghurt.

Fava beans also vary in size, the Egyptian beans are smaller than the varieties in neighbouring countries. In some of these food cultures the beans and their flavourings are served as a dipping sauce.

  • 500 g dried fava beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 150 g onions, chopped
  • 4 lemons, juice
  • 60 g tahini
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • Salt, large pinch

Boil the beans until they are soft, and most of the cooking liquid has been reduced. Combine tahini, lemon juice, onion, garlic, cumin and seasonings in a bowl, whisk. Reheat the beans, add tahini mixture, mash lightly. Garnish with tomatoes, olive oil and parsley.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS = Cumin Seeds | Fava Beans | Olive Oil | Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste)



CYPRUS — Five Traditional Dishes

From the heart of Cyprus. If only every tourist organisation in Europe got it together to employ someone like Filakia Tonia to research and write a booklet on its traditional food. Here are five suggestions from her wonderful little book, Food From The Heart of Cyprus.

Afelia — liver/pork marinated in coriander seeds and red wine
Fasolaki Yiahni — bean and Feta cheese (lamb – optional) stew
Kleftiko — baked lamb
Makaronia tou Fournou — macaroni, cheese and meat bake
Tahini —garlic, lemons, olive oil, tahini paste

Flavours of Cyprus
Food From The Heart of Cyprus