Hummus Elite
Hummus Elite    /    Sunday - Thursday: 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM    /    Friday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM    /    Saturday: Closed    /    201.569.5600
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Glatt Kosher Middle Eastern / Mediterranean Cuisine
What Is Tahini Sauce?

Middle Eastern tahini sauce or paste differs from Asian tahini sauce due to using only the inner part of the sesame seed, or "husked" part, instead of the whole sesame seed. The slightly nutty, bitter flavor with which it provides a variety of dishes is culled from soaking sesame seeds is water, crushing the seeds and then soaking them in salt water. This forces the kernels to separate from the seeds and float to the surface, where they are gathered, ground and toasted to make an oily, creamy paste or sauce.

Considered to be one of the many healthy foods comprising Middle East cuisine, tahini contains sufficient amounts of manganese, copper, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and amino acid methionine. All of these nutrients contribute to cardiovascular health, cognitive functioning and fat metabolism. Moreover, the high protein and calcium levels in tahini make it an excellent addition to any vegan or vegetarian diet.

Tahini is traditionally served as a garnish or side dish in Middle Eastern restaurants that is enhanced with garlic, lemon juice and salt. In addition to being a bread dip, tahini often tops vegetable and meat dishes or complements sweet syrup made with dates to create a dessert eaten with bread.

In Israel, tahini is a staple of most meals, used as a dip for pita bread or as a topping for shwarma and falafel. Popular with residents of the Gaza Strip, red tahini is also served alongside regular tahini. Because sesame seeds used to make this tahini are roasted for a longer period, the taste is more intense and richer.

Tahini is also used as a substitute for peanut butter, jelly and butter on plain or toasted pita bread in the Middle East. This paste is made by roasting sesame seeds on a cooking sheet for about ten minutes, pouring the seeds plus 1/4 cup of olive oil into a blender and mixing the paste on high until smooth and creamy.

A hummus recipe almost always includes tahini but is sometimes omitted to give the hummus a different flavor. The basic recipe for traditional Middle Eastern hummus includes garbanzo or chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, salt, olive oil and tahini. Halvah, a candy-like dessert also contains tahini and sweeteners like honey or syrup.

Predominantly found in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Jordan, baba ghanoush is a dish made with mashed eggplant, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic clove, tahini and served with pita bread. The Arabic name for "baba ghanoush" literally refers to "father of coquetry", which leads some historians to believe that this dish was originally created by a harem member many centuries ago.
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