Tuna Fish Bathed in Tahini, A Relish of A Dish!
Known as Tajen or Tajeh, the Tuna Fish Bathed in Tahini is one of the most praised dishes at my reception table! And I will tell you why in a moment.
Tourists and visitors to Lebanon have probably tasted it in famous Lebanese restaurants as part of the Mezza. The Tajen is usually served in restaurants as a dressing or dip containing some tuna and a lot of onions with fried Lebanese bread on the side.
However, considering the many health benefits of its components, and how delicious the Tajen is, I turned it into a consistent side dish to benefit the most out of it, in healthy nutrients.
My personal version became known as Tuna Fish bathed in Tahini because the fish takes a good place in my recipe and the onions lessen.
It is served on my table as a side dish topped generously with golden-fried pine nuts and almonds, and garnished with parsley and lemon slices. However, you could also serve it as main dish with a rich salad on the side!
I have also replace the tuna fish with tuna in cans for several reasons:
- it is cleaner (no sea taste to it),
- no hassle of cleaning the fish,
- it is mess-free,
- it is easier to prepare overall!
The Tajen Health Value
For those among you who somehow missed to know what is the Tahini, let me tell you that you are missing a lot 🙂
This is what the Tahini provides you with:
The Tahini is the oily paste made from toasted sesame seeds. Oily yes, but it has 0% Cholesterol and very little salt (about 4% in 115 mg). It has become very praised by the healthy-minded people for its nutritious benefits.
100 grams of Tahini contains 42% Calcium and 50% Iron. Commendable, isn’t it?
Tahini is used in various of our Lebanese recipes, which I have been sharing with you gradually. Among these dishes: the Hummus, the Baba Ghannouj, the Beef Shawarma, the Falafel, our so famous Tripolitan Spicy Fish (Samke Harra), and more.
Time to share my Tajen recipe!
- 2 cans Tuna (medium)
- 2 Onion (Medium-Large) thinly sliced in wings
- 1/4 tsp Lebanese 7-Spice or white pepper
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cummin
- 1/2 cup Vegetable oil or as seen fit to fry the onions
- White Vinegar to marinate the tuna
- 1 cup Water
For The Tahini Sauce (Tarator)
- 1/2 cup Tahini Paste
- 2 cloves Garlic pounded to creamy texture
- 1 cup Water as per consistence.
- 1/2 cup Lemon Juice (fresh) + more to taste
- 1/2 tsp Salt or as per taste
- 1/4 cup Pine Kernels golden fried
- 1/4 cup Almonds bleached, then golden fried
To Garnish (optional)
- 4-5 heads Fresh Parsley optional
- 1/2 Lemon sliced in half-moon shape (optional)
Preparing the Tuna
Drain the Tuna from its liquid, mince it roughly with a fork, and saturate it well with white Vinegar. Leave it to marinate.
Fry the sliced onions on High Heat. Lower it to Medium when the oil starts bubbling. Toss constantly so they won’t burn or turn dark.
When the onions wither into some transparency, remove them into a sieve and leave them for the oil to drain out. Set aside. P.S. You may press them very gently with a spoon.
Meanwhile, let's start the Tahini Dressing!
Making the Tahini Dressing (Tarator)
To succeed the Tarator mixture, it is important to proceed gradually with the liquids while blending.
In a separate bowl, mix well the creamy garlic with the Tahini. As you mix, add water slowly and gradually.
Season with salt, and stir as you add the lemon juice slowly and gradually.
The Tahini Sauce is now ready! Place the bowl aside.
Cooking the Tajen
Pour the tuna chunks into a sieve to remove all the vinegar, then add them to the onions in the pan. Mix all well yet smoothly.
You can now pour the Tahini sauce over the mixture of onions and tuna in the pan. Stir gently.
Season with the Cumin and the Lebanese 7-Spice, and stir again until all is well mixed.
Turn the heat on under the pan at Low to Medium heat. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, mixing regularly. This practice is important for the Tajen not to dry nor burn.
Meanwhile, we can start preparing the toppings:
Preparing the Toppings
Fry the Pine kernels to golden on Medium Heat. Be careful, Pine nuts burn very quickly!
Have ready near the stove a plate with a layer of thick kitchen towel-paper.
When your Pine Kernels turn golden, remove them from the oil and onto a sieve then spread them without delay on the kitchen towel-paper.
Cover them with another layer of towel-paper, pat them down smoothly, and set aside. This will remove all the oil in order for you to keep the dish as healthy and light as possible.
Fry the Almonds in the same oil, following the same steps as with the Pine Kernels.
Bringing the Tajen together
1- Pour the Tajen on a serving plate and spread it nicely.
2- Top it with the golden Pine kernels and almonds.
3- As the Tajen cools down, decorate with half-slices of lemon on the sides of the plate as you like.
4- Gather the heads of the fresh parsley into a tiny bouquet and plant it in the center of the Tajen.
Another option is to sprinkle finely chopped parsley around the tajen and a little on the top center.
Warm or at room temperature; with Lebanese bread, toasted, fried or soft.
The most delicious option, and not the healthier one, is to eat the Tajen with fried Lebanese bread. In that case, we cut the bread into small to medium triangle forms, fry them to golden, place them between layers of paper kitchen towel and pat out the oil.
Spread the Love! Sharing is always appreciated 🙂