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Tahini

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Tahini or sesame paste (Arabic: طحينه‎), is a paste of ground sesame seeds used in cooking. North African and West Asian tahini is made of hulled, lightly roasted seeds. East Asian sesame paste is made of unhulled seeds. The Arabic word Tahain طحين simply means flour.

Tahini is a major component of hummus 'chickpeas with tahini' and other Middle Eastern foods. It is sold fresh or dehydrated. Sesame paste is an ingredient in some Chinese, Korean, and Japanese dishes; it is used in some versions of the Szechuan dish Dan dan noodles. Because East Asian sesame paste is made from unhulled seeds, it is more bitter than tahini. Sesame paste is also used in Indian cuisine.

Etymology


Tahini is a loanword from Arabic طحينة [tˤaħiːnaː], or more accurately ṭaḥīnīa طحينية, is derived from the root طحن ṭ-ḥ-n which as a verb means 'to grind', the same root as طحين [tˤaħiːn] 'flour'. The standard Arabic spelling طحينة ends in an ah sound (ة) and is pronounced with an a,ah, or uh sound in most Arabic dialects. In Syrian and Lebanese dialects, however, this sound is generally pronounced eh. Since most 19th and early 20th century Middle Eastern immigrants to English-speaking countries were Christians from Syria and Lebanon, this may be the origin of the English usage of the final i.

The earliest English-language document seen that contains the word "tahini" is the Hollywood Glamour Cook Book, by Mariposa (1940). A table (p. 101) titled "Raw nut butters," lists 12 types including "sesame tahini." These butters are said to be sold at the fancy grocer's or "Health Food Stores."

History


Tahini is mentioned as an ingredient of Hummus Kasa, a recipe transcribed in an anonymous 13th century Arabic cookbook, Kitab Wasf al-Atima al-Mutada.

Uses


Tahini paste is used in a variety of dishes. 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. Tahini sauce is also a popular condiment for meat and vegetables in Middle Eastern cuisine. In addition, it is a main ingredient in soups. As a spread, Tahini can replace peanut butter on bread, though the flavor and texture are quite different.

In Turkey, tahini (tahin in Turkish) is mixed with pekmez to form a dish called tahin-pekmez. Due to its high-calorie nutritious value, it is served as a breakfast item or after meals as a dessert to dip pieces of bread in, especially during the wintertime.

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References

Tahini, en.wikipedia.org

Tahini Recipe. Тахини, ecologicalmind.wordpress.com

Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste), mideastfood.about.com