All About Tahini

March 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Food

If you go to a place like Zankou Chicken, you’ll find that they offer tahini sauce with some of their sides. In the case of Zankou, the tahini is actually the salad dressing used for each plate. Tahini is a popular paste made from toasted, ground hulled sesame seeds. It’s a lot like peanut butter, even having a similar consistency and thickness, but the difference is it’s made from sesame seeds.

Tahini comes from the Arabic word “tahana”, which means “to grind”. It also shares a root word meaning “flour”, depending on which dialect is speaking the term. It’s a popular side in the Mediterranean world, but it’s also an ingredient used in other dishes.

At Zankou Chicken, you can order tahini salad. The salad uses tahini as the base for a dressing, which also goes great with the sandwiches and wraps. The salad itself is simple: consisting of just tomatoes and romaine. Still, that dressing really makes the plate complete.

Tahini paste is used in many dishes of Mediterranean origin, even tahini cookies (which are very chewy and delicious). We know that sesame was mentioned in cuneiform over 4,000 years ago, leading some to believe the paste and dressings are quite old. There is also a 13th century Arabic cookbook that describes hummus using tahini paste as one of the ingredients, leading historians to believe that it’s likely tahini paste has been around for some time.

You can also buy tahini at your local super market, but be wary. The bottle contains some oil in it, so you’ll need to refrigerate your paste to get the consistency you want and avoid spoilage.


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