Before I moved to Israel, I didn’t know much about techinah. That is, tahini.
In Israel, if you say “tahini” people will look at you funny. It’s “techinah” or “tekhinah” – with that gutteral ch (or kh).
But I’d heard plenty about the fabulous Israeli street food, falafel. Almost as soon as my plane landed, I headed for a falafel stand and ordered a pita full of those hot, spicy chickpea balls and chopped salad. My more experienced friends encouraged me to drizzle the beige, bland-looking sauce all over the falafel. It didn’t look tempting, but I was willing to try it. I picked up a plastic bottle full of it and gave a good squeeze.
Open sesame! I discovered that techina’s moist texture complemented the fried falafel and the flavor, between nutty and lemony, perked up the juicy vegetables.
Here’s a techinah bottle like the one I squeezed for that very first falafel. It’s standing next to one of amba, a pungent mango curry. Techinah’s far more popular than amba, as you see. And here’s my post about neighborhood falafel stands.