Yid. Dish: Tahina

By Eda Goldstein

Published June 24, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Tahina, the thick, brownish-gray paste of ground sesame seeds, is one of the latest foods to turn “gourmet” – at least in Israel. If supermarkets once sold only one brand of tahina, today it comes in squeeze bottles and glass jars with fancy labels; brands with Arabic on their labels proclaiming their “authenticity” vie with the all-Hebrew labels of the standard brand. (As far as I know, however, Melo Hatene is the only place to actually offer tahina tasting — the ultimate sign of a gourmet food.)

JCarrot

Once tahina was mostly found thinned to a watery sauce in the corner falafel stand or served in a neat glop in the center of a plate of hummus. At best, you could be served green tahina – a thick concoction mixed with chopped parsley – for dipping pita. Nowadays, the additions can run to chopped tomatoes, different herbs, and even (what else?) pesto.

Some hints for mixing the perfect tahina:

Buy the best raw tahina available. If you can find organic tahina, so much the better. Whole tahina, on the other hand, is a matter of taste – some find it to have bitter aftertaste.

Mix equal amounts of water and tahina. If you have time, use boiling water and let the mixture cool; your tahina will be thicker and creamier, and mix more easily.

Stir vigorously, and keep going until the tahina is completely smooth.

Add garlic, salt and lemon juice to taste. Go slow, taste, and add more if needed. (Remember, the garlic flavor can get stronger as it sits.) For extra-smooth tahina, try chopping the garlic on a cutting board and then mashing it with the salt using the end of your knife.

Optional: Add a generous amount of parsley or any other minced herbs, tomatoes or green onions. If you’re using tomatoes, add less water initially.

For baba ghanoush, simply add the already-mixed tahina to eggplant that has been roasted or charred on an open flame, cooled, drained, peeled and chopped (about 1/3 tahina to 2/3 eggplant, more or less according to taste).

Try topping roasted or steamed vegetables with tahina and heating them in the oven until just warmed through. This is a vegetarian version of a dish (usually made with lamb) called sinaya.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The rose petals have settled, and Andi has made her (Jewish?) choice. We look back on the #Bachelorette finale:
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.