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Sesame Paste

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Tahini dip Tahini, jar 453g. (Natural oil separation is visible at the top)

Tahini (Arabic tahina: طحينة), zhimajiang (芝麻醤), nerigoma (ねりごま), טחינה (tahina or t'hina - Hebrew), Tashi (τασιή) in Cyprus or sesame paste is a paste of ground sesame seeds used in cooking. Middle Eastern tahini is made of hulled, lightly roasted seeds. East Asian sesame paste is made of unhulled seeds.

Tahini is a major component of hummus 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.[citation needed]

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Etymology

Tahini is from an Arabic loanword to English. طحينة IPA: [tˁaħiːnah], or more accurately á¹­aḥīnÄ«a طحينية, is derived from the root طحن tˁ-ħ-n which as a verb means 'to grind',[1] the same root as طحين IPA: [tˁaħiːn] 'flour'.

While the standard Arabic spelling طحينة ends in an ah sound (ة), and it is pronounced with an a,ah, or uh sound in most Arabic dialects, in Syrian and Lebanese dialects this sound is generally pronounced eh. Since most 19th and early 20th century Arab immigrants to English-speaking countries were from Syria and Lebanon, this may be the origin of the English usage of the final i.

It is sometimes called tahina or t'hina (טחינה), based on the cognate Hebrew word of the same root and meaning (``to grind``).[2][3][4][5]

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.[6]

Tahini originates in ancient Persia (Iran), under the name ardeh (ارده) 'holy food'.[citation needed]

Uses

Tahini paste is used in a variety of dishes. Tahini-based sauces are common in Arab and Israeli 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.

In Iraq and some Gulf countries, tahini is mixed with date syrup (rub) to make a sweet dessert usually eaten with bread.

In Cyprus, tashi is used as dipping for bread and in Pitta Souvlaki rather than tzatziki, which is customary in Greece.

Tahini is also the main ingredient in the Mediterranean type of halva.

Tahini is becoming more common in European cuisine and can be found as an ingredient in some pre-packaged sandwiches.

Tahini is an important ingredient in hummus bi tahini.

References

^ Ghillie Basan, Jonathan Basan (2006), The Middle Eastern Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with Over 150 Authentic Recipes, p.146, Hippocrene Books  ^ All about Tahini ^ What is tahini? ^ Babylon English grind ..``crush small (heb. tahan)`` ^ Strong's Hebrew Dictionary..``from 'tachan' (2912); a hand mill..to grind.`` ^ Alice Fordham (October 10, 2008). ``Middle Eats: What are Lebanon’s chances of legally laying claim to hummus?``. NOW Lebanon. http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=62188. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 

Bibliography

Basan, Ghillie; Basan, Jonathan (2006), The Middle Eastern Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with Over 150 Authentic Recipes, Hippocrene Books, ISBN 0781811902, 9780781811903