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I’m reading a recipe for hummus online: throw in chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon, cilantro, salt and jalapeño. Process to a paste. The. Add water while processor is running to smooth out mixture.

Prior recipes using tahini called for just tahini and water in the processor first, and then adding additional ingredients. I’m concerned that the recipe above will seize up and will be hard to undo when the tahini is already incorporated. Is this a valid concern?

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Tahini "seizes up" when a small amount of water-based liquid is added but the emulsion has not yet inverted. It's not really a problem. As more liquid is incorporated, the emulsion will invert and things will become smooth again. Particularly if using a food processor, this is not something that you'll even notice (just like you didn't notice it happening with your previous hummus recipe.)

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I don't know why you anticipate seized tahini, but it is a ground paste, and undergoes no chemical changes in hummus. It won't seize.

This is not only theoretical reasoning. I have made hummus frequently enough, by throwing everything together and processing, and never had any issues.

I suppose the kind of recipe you are using might have initially been intended for manual mixing. Tahini tends to separate when sitting, and the solid part is really hard to mix. So if you get this one softer at first, you will avoid having a big lump of tahini sediment in the hummus later. But the food processor doesn't care about that, it is perfectly capable of mixing the hummus when everything is thrown in at once.

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    See Sneftel's answer: tahini "seizing" is actually a part of the tahini-sauce-making process. You don't see it if the tahini is mixed 1:2 with chickpeas, though; it only happens if you're mixing tahini, lemon juice, and water by itself.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 30, 2021 at 23:40
  • That’s not what the question is asking about. Tahini has a very weird tendency to seize into a very thick paste when some water is added and then thin back out as additional water is added.
    – Preston
    May 1, 2022 at 0:01
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From my personal experience: when I make hummus, I blend tahini, garlic, salt and lemon juice first into a smooth paste with some cold water and liquid from the chickpeas (aquafaba). Then, I add the chickpeas and blend again, adjusting the liquid content until I get the desired texture. Finally, I adjust seasoning to taste. The result is a very good and consistent hummus,

In your case, I would add the jalapenos and cilantro together with the chickpeas in the second blend step.

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