Recipe: Tahina – Israeli style!

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Tahina is made from sesame seed paste which is mixed with water and spices to form it’s more familiar appearance. If you don’t know what to do with raw tahina paste it just looks like a grey brown sludge, but at home I often turn it into a delicious side dish to any meal. We have tahina with all kinds of dishes, meat, chicken and even light salad type meals; it is most familiar to those who eat tahina with shawama or falafel as a relish or sauce. Other times it is eaten as a dip by itself for bread or vegetables. Tahina is a staple menu item in the Middle East and features on the menus of most Israeli meat restaurants.

You can buy organic tahina or the ordinary kind, it comes in a jar or tin and looks unappetizing and smells like halva – which by the way is also made from sesame seeds. Tahina is very healthy and in Israel parents are often advised to give it to babies. You have to know what to add to the paste in order for it to be palatable. Some people leave out some of the below ingredients but this has been my winning combination.


Tahina paste(about 2 cups)

Cold water

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp Salt

Small handful of fresh Coriander

2 -3 cloves of crushed Garlic


Put the tahina paste in a bowl and mix it with a fork while adding water gradually until the paste becomes a lighter color and a smoother more liquid consistence. You could use about 2 cups of water, the consistancy is a matter of taste, some like it runny and others prefer it the consistancy of humus.

Once the water has been added the other ingredients can be added in any order.

Squeeze in the lemon, add the salt, crush the garlic, chop up the coriander finely, and add it all together.

Then adjust to your own taste, you may want to add more salt or lemon juice.

Eat it as a dip, side dish or sauce; you could also add crushed parsley which turns it green. 

Bon Appetite!


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