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I've recently started frequenting a Middle Eastern restaurant. They provide a sauce with their shawarma that they swear is tahini, but I've never tasted any like this.

Most tahinis I've had are about the texture of natural peanut butter, are some shade of brown, and contain nothing but ground sesame seeds.

The tahini at this restaurant is a thin white sauce seasoned with garlic and some kind of spices. I politely asked a waiter if they weren't maybe confusing tahini with tzatziki, but they say no. It's a small family-owned place, and they will not share their recipe or even give a hint as to what's in this sauce.

I've googled tahini, but have not really found anything (either recipes or store-bought products) that resemble this. Is it some heretofore-unknown variety of tahini, and if so, what is it called?

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I am pretty sure I have seen a tahini like the one you describe. I don't know names for different styles, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if there were variations. There are many different styles of salsa, different styles of humus, and many other sauces, so I imagine there are different styles of tahini. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Mar 29 '12 at 3:43

2 Answers 2

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"Tahini Sauce" and "Taratour Sauce", which are sauces based on tahini, are often simply called "tahini". Generally the recipe is tahini, lemon juice, salt, and optionally herbs and/or garlic.

Example recipes:

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Thank you! I wasn't aware that "tahini sauce" was something different than tahini. That does sound like what they provide. –  EmmyS Mar 29 '12 at 15:01
    
Yeah, it can be pretty confusing. I've even seen tahini and tahini sauce used interchangably in recipes. –  FuzzyChef Mar 30 '12 at 3:29

The one delivered with shawarma is Taratour Sauce, it is basically made up of tahini, with some garlic, lemon juice, and if you like you can add some parsley. They usually add some water to make it thin white.

You can make using tahini many kinds of sauces, like the chickpeas sauce, which is prepared by smashing the chickpeas then add tahini and garlic and lemon juice.

Everything could be prepared from tahini and lemon juice and garlic, and it will give a nice taste.

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