Tahini is one of those ingredients that is better known as a supporting player than as a shining star. All too often, it gets out-dazzled by the chickpea in hummus or relegated to an afterthought when putting together falafel or shawarma. Yet it’s truly indispensable in those dishes and more, rightfully proclaiming its status as a heavyweight ingredient that transcends cultural and continental boundaries.

In the interest of giving tahini its proper due, here’s a primer on the versatile, sesame-based staple and its many uses.

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