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!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • 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.