Hazelnut tahini lemon dip (fundukli tahin)


As I’m cooking through the Please to the Table cookbook, I’m realizing that this blog is a bit of a misnomer. It was always my intent to cook Soviet food rather than just Russian (I’m technically Moldovian after all) but cooking through the book I realize how diverse each country’s food in the region really is.

For example, this recipe is for the hazelnut tahini dip, which is an Azerbaijani dish. I am realizing that tahini is quite a common ingredient in Azerbaijani cuisine, which appears to be much closer to a blend between Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, rather than “Russian.” [I’ve never had tahini during my childhood… until I moved to Israel!] Since Sovian Bites doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Russian Bites, I’ll keep the blog name as is. But I just wanted to let you know why this dish may not be exactly what you expected “Russian” food to be. Because it’s not! 😉 I love how discovering all the tastes the former Soviet Union cuisine has to offer!!

On to this dish… This was a really quick appetizer I made for a party today. It’s got the tang of tahini, nuttiness of the hazelnuts and the brightness of lemon (the hazelnuts add a bit of texture too). I served it with pita chips but fresh veggies would be great as well. I think everyone enjoyed it. :)


  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice of 2 large lemons
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper, to taste


1. Roast hazelnuts at 350* for about 7 minutes, until fragrant. Don’t burn them! 😆





I know, I know… kind of hard to see. But they were toasty!

2. Rub the hazelnuts with a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins.


They may not completely come off. Don’t worry if some skin remains in tact.


3. Grind the hazelnuts in the food processor.


4. Add the rest of the ingredients and process for another 30 seconds or so (add more water if needed, 1/2 cup was sufficient for me).


Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve…


… taste one more time 😉


… then remind yourself that you really need to leave some for the party.

All ready to go!




7 comments to Hazelnut tahini lemon dip (fundukli tahin)

  • Yum! This sounds like a must try! Very cool variation of hummus.

  • Tiffany

    I loved this dish. I loved how the nutty flavor of the hazelnuts lent itself to the lemons, almost as if it were downplaying the sourness of the lemons. The texture was great, too – this sounds odd, but I just really liked how it felt against my tongue, lol. I’m a texture foodie, and this was a hit!

    I think it’s interesting that there is so much variation in food between the former satellite nations. I noticed in the Czech Republic that the food is very German-centric. It’s nothing like the food you post here, and yet the Czechs were also part of the Soviet Union. In a way, it makes me think of our country’s own cultural zones (“traditional” food here, citrusy-sweet foods in the south, and spicy in the southwest). There’s something to appreciate about each regional offering.

  • It’s very neat to see all the different flavors that were present in the former soviet union! this sounds lovely, and i’ll definitely be giving it a try :)

  • Just bookmarked this one for future use in a Russian dinner party!! I am gathering all my faves, and I think it will be cool because most people I know are not sure what kinds of foods are “Russian.”

  • Sounds delicious! I’ve never had a hazelnut dip before but I think I’ll really like this, especially with the tahini and lemon flavors.

  • Very interesting dip, I never heard of this one before. And glad to have found your website, many interesting recipes

  • Yum. I think what you’re mentioning above is to be expected since to some degree, there is often a little overlap from one country to another and flavors migrate.

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