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Tahini
Tahina
Tahini next to lemon and whole garlic
Origin
Alternative name(s) Tahina, tahine, etc.
Region or state Eastern Mediterranean, West Asia, South Caucasus, parts of North Africa
Details
Type Spread or dip, ingredient or filling in other dishes
Main ingredient(s) Sesame seeds
Hummus&ful
Hummus and ful topped with tahini
Tahinijar 453g
Tahini in a jar with natural oil separation visible at the top

Tahini is a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame. It is served by itself (as a dip) or as a major ingredient in hummus, baba ghanoush, and halva.

Tahini is used in the cuisines of the Levant and Eastern Mediterranean, the South Caucasus, as well as parts of North Africa.

Culinary uses

Tahini-based sauces are common in Middle Eastern restaurants as a side dish or as a garnish, usually including lemon juice, salt, and garlic, and thinned with water. Hummus is made of cooked, mashed chickpeas typically blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic. Tahini sauce is also a popular topping for meat and vegetables in Middle Eastern cuisine. A sweet spread, halawa taḥīniyya (حلاوة طحينية "sweet tahini") is a type of halva sweet. It sometimes has mashed or sliced pistachio pieces sprinkled inside or on top. It is usually spread on bread and eaten as a quick snack.

In Armenia, tahini can be used as a sauce to put on lahmajoun. In Greece, tahini (Greek: ταχίνι) is used as a spread on bread either alone or topped with honey or jam. Jars of tahini ready-mixed with honey or cocoa are available in the breakfast food aisles of Greek supermarkets. In Cyprus, tahini, locally known as tashi, is used as a dip for bread and in pitta souvlaki rather than tzatziki, which is customary in Greece.

Tahini is called ardeh (ارده) in Persian. In Iran it is used to make halvardeh (حلواارده), a kind of halva made of tahini, sugar, egg whites, and other ingredients. It is also eaten during breakfast, usually with an accompanying sweet substance, usually grape syrup, date syrup, honey, jams, etc. Ardeh and halvardeh are among the souvenirs of the Iranian cities of Yazd and Ardakan.

In Turkey, tahini (Turkish: tahin) is mixed with pekmez to make tahin-pekmez which is often served as a breakfast item or after meals as a sweet dip for breads. In Iraq, tahini is known as rashi, and is mixed with date syrup (rub) to make a sweet dessert usually eaten with bread.

In Israel, tahini (Hebrew: טחינה t'hina) is a staple foodstuff. It is served as a dip with flat bread or pita, a topping for many foods such as falafel, sabich, Jerusalem mixed grill and shwarma, and as an ingredient in various spreads. It is also used as a sauce for meat and fish, and in sweet desserts like halva, halva parfait, halva ice cream and tahini cookies. It is also served baked in the oven with kufta made of lamb or beef with spices and herbs, or with a whole fish in the coastal areas and the Sea of Galilee.

In the Levant, tahini (Levantine Arabic: t'hine) is a staple foodstuff prepared with salt, lemon juice, and optionally mashed garlic. It is served as a dip with pita, or a topping for falafel and shwarma, and as an ingredient in various spreads. It is also used as a sauce for meat and fish. It is a main ingredient in a seafood dish called siyadiyeh. Tahini is used in sweet desserts like halva and halva with pistachios.

In the Gaza Strip, a rust-colored variety known as "red tahina" is served in addition to ordinary tahina. It is achieved by a different and lengthier process of roasting the sesame seeds, and has a more intense taste. Red tahina is used in sumagiyya (lamb with chard and sumac) and salads native to the falaheen from the surrounding villages, as well as southern Gaza. In the West Bank city of Nablus, tahina is mixed with qizha paste to make "black tahina", used in baking.

In East Asia, sesame paste is a major condiment used with dry noodles (hot or cold). Sesame paste can also be eaten as a dessert, known as black sesame soup.

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