‘Open Sesame!’, the well-known phrase from the Arabian Nights is based on a distinguishing feature of the sesame plant. The seed pod bursts open when they ripen and reach maturity!
Tahini or tahina is made using hulled sesame. It is toasted and ground to make a paste which can be served as a dip or as an ingredient in popular Middle-Eastern dishes such as hummus, baba ganoush, and halawa.
Halawa or Halvah is a general term for desserts made using flour and various nut butters. But in the Middle East, Halawa refers to mainly one item – a sesame based confection that is not only decadently delicious, but also highly nutritious.