The New Tehina in Town


    The three sisters behind Philadelphia-based Soom Foods are producing what may be the best tehina in the city.

    I get really excited to share stories about local chefs and restaurateurs with my readers. But, since I also love cooking at home with my husband, I get super stoked about new products that come from local businesses.

    Enter: Soom Foods.

    This relatively new brand of tehina, which is originally from Ethiopia, is manufactured in Israel before landing at restaurants like Zahav, North Bowl, Eat-A-Pita, Pure Fare and Agno in the Philadelphia area. "We use it because it's delicious and soo smooth! You don't even have to stir it," comments Oron Daskal, owner of North Bowl. "Also, I like to support other local, Jewish businesses."

    OK, so what exactly is tehina? Good question. The simple answer is that it is a puree made from sesame seeds. What it really is is a crucial building block in some fantastic recipes.

    When I think of tehina, my mind goes to hummus. However, there's so much more to this gluten- and peanut-free sesame paste. Tehina can be used in smoothies, salad dressings, as spreads on toast and in cookies, cakes and brownies. There's really no limit!

    Soom Foods was founded by the three Zitelman sisters — Shelby, Jackie and Amy — who are all under 30 years old. Their operation is based in Philadelphia, where two out of the three women live (Jackie resides in Israel). Their combined resumé is quite impressive and the perfect formula for their entrepreneurial endeavor: Shelby is a Wharton alumna, Jackie has a master's in environmental science and Amy recently graduated from University of Delaware with a concentration in interpersonal communications.

    Amy, the youngest of the triumvirate, leads sales and marketing for the brand. I asked her how she feels about launching her product in Philly. "Philadelphia is a city with amazing restaurants that take pride in quality, superior flavor and being from Philadelphia," she replied in an email. "Soom Foods chose Philadelphia as our home specifically for those reasons, and we're so excited to be personally (because we deliver ourselves!) providing these great chefs a tehina they'll be proud to use!"

    Soom Foods also sells on their website and is available in food stores and supermarkets from Washington, D.C. to New York City. 

    Enjoy this delish recipe from Mama Soom, Cindy Zitelman.

    A date with tehina and nutella 


    2 cups dried dates

    1 cup walnut pieces 

    1 1/2 cup coconut flakes 

    1/4 cup nutella 

    1/2 cup tehina 


    1) Blend dates in food processor. Remove and reserve.

    2) Blend walnuts in food processor. Remove and reserve.

    3) Mix walnuts, dates and 1 cup coconut flakes in a large mixing bowl.

    4) Add nutella and tehina to the mixture. Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. 

    5) Scoop a tablespoon full of mixture out of the bowl. Roll into a small ball.

    6) Pour remaining coconut flakes onto cutting board and roll each ball around until covered.

    7) Place on dish and chill in refrigerator, covered in wax paper until ready to eat.

    For even more recipes and news on all things tehina, click over to Soom Foods

    Cheers to these sesame sisters,

    The Bubbi Project