"Tahini"--- Ancient Food


"Tahini"--- Ancient Food

All about Tahini
They say there’s a war between civilizations. I’m not sure about that. The way I see it, there is definitely a virtual gap separating people from one another—but it has nothing to do with politics or beliefs. In other words, in my opinion, there are only two kinds of people: Those who know what real tahini tastes like, and those who do not.

Tahini—sesame paste—is a pretty ancient food. Sesame has been known to mankind for over 7,000 years now—and it seems unlikely we cultivated it just for the sake of bagels.

Tahini and other sesame products can be found not only in the Middle Eastern kitchen but also in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisines as well as in some parts of Africa. Although it is an important ingredient in some of the most fabulous culinary cultures of the world, none matches the passion Israelis and Arabs feel for it.

A quick etymology: “tahini†is a mispronunciation of “thina.†Its pronunciation in Hebrew and Arabic is almost identical. It is very similar to the Arabic word for “flour†and almost identical to the Hebrew word for “grinding.â€

Just think about it: at the dawn of mankind (or at least of the Middle Eastern kind), tahini stood shoulder to shoulder with wheat and flour. So how come half the world today knows what bread is but have never tasted good tahini?

I’ve been eating tahini since I was an infant some 30-something years ago. In recent years, I tasted (and sometimes documented) some 30–40 varieties of tahini, mostly from Israel and the territories. The best brands were Arab, specifically from Nablus and Galilee.

I also tried several Lebanese, Greek, and Turkey brands, which are the only ones you can find in Europe and the United States. Although some were okay, they were hardly as good as the Palestinian or Israeli brands. The all-time favorite as far I’m concerned is the “Yonah†brand from Nablus. If you live in Europe or the United States, the Lebanese Al-Wadi is a good substitute.

Tahini is very simple and easy to make. Do it a few times, and you’re bound to get to the desired flavor and texture. Only make sure you are using the best raw tahini you can.

1/3 cup raw tahini
1/3 cup cool water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small garlic clove
3–5 stalks of fresh parsley

Mix the tahini with a part of the water. Stir slowly and add the rest of the water. Continue stirring and adding water until desired thickness is reached. Add the lemon juice, garlic, and the parsley. If the tahini is too thick, add a little more water. Add salt.

(By Shooky Galili, Ynetnews.com, August 13, 2007)

Note: All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.