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A thick oily paste extracted from husked white sesame seeds, whose name comes from the Arab word tahana, meaning to ‘grind’ or ‘crush’. The seeds are husked by crushing and soaking them, they are then dried and lightly roasted before being ground to produce a thick paste or cream. In the Middle East and Greece, tahini appears in the dips often served as part of a meze—mixed with ground chickpeas to make hummus or with puréed aubergine to make baba ghanoush. When blended with garlic and lemon, tahini can be used as a dressing over roast vegetables or as an ingredient in the sweetmeat, halvah. Tahini can be made at home by grinding the seeds in a mortar and pestle or blender until smooth, or is commercially available as both a dark and light paste—the latter of which is usually of the better quality.
Also known as — sesame seed butter, sesame seed paste, taheena, tahina