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Tahini is made from sesame seeds which are hulled, toasted and ground. The word comes from the Arabic and has nothing to do with sesame – it simply means “ground.” There isn’t a single cuisine native to the eastern Mediterranean, the Levant, North Africa or the Middle East that doesn’t have tahini deeply embedded in it; in Greece it is primarily used in hummus and as a dip. A spread of Cyprus meze without hummus would look naked, and tahini will also be there to dip raw vegetables into.

We know that sesame has been part of the region’s cooking for thousands of years. 4,000 years ago, the gods were said to drink sesame wine (there is no record of what this strange sounding concoction might have tasted like), and Herodotus records that it was cultivated for its oil on the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates 3,500 years ago. More recently, an Arabic cookbook from the 13th century had a recipe for hummus in which tahini is mentioned as an ingredient.

Tahini contains a lot of oil, so we recommend keeping it in the fridge.

In Greece, Souvlakia (small pieces of meat grilled on skewers; the singular form is souvlaki) are eaten with tzatziki, but in Cyprus we prefer to eat them with tahini in a pita bread.  In Greece they also like to spread tahini on bread and then to spread jam or honey on top. If that sounds odd to the north European palate, you might find it worth trying – Greek supermarkets sell tahini ready mixed with honey (and with cocoa, oddly enough) and tahini is also mixed with something sweet like honey, jam, figs, and grapes in Iran and Syria, so the habit of mixing tahini with sweet things is well established. For that matter, Israelis love it in halva desserts and ice cream (often with the addition of pistachios)  and they make tahini cookies, to which chocolate chips are often added.

Mixing tahini with crushed garlic and lemon juice produces a sauce used with fish and meat in many Middle Eastern countries.

All those things you can do with it – and tahini is good for you, too! It contains good minerals including manganese and calcium, and is an excellent source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Vegetarians and vegans benefit from the good protein levels in addition to which it is quite high in fibre and low in saturated fats and sugar.

Company Info

Contact Person: Nikos Andrea
Mailing Address: Koniele Trading LTD,
Evagorou 6, Dromolaxia, Cyprus 7020
Call/Text: 00 357 97 884776
Company Reg. No: HE343968