Sesame seeds are used in cuisine throughout the world. It is a popular topping for breads and often combined with sugar or honey in deserts such as the Middle Eastern halvah or Greek pasteli. Sesame can also be ground into a butter known as tahini, which by itself is quite bitter - but combines very well with maple syrup, jams and honey or savory ingredients like garlic and paprika.
Sesame seeds are from a flowering plant that is native to the tropical regions of Africa. Interestingly however, the plant was first domesticated in the Indus River Valley of what is now Pakistan nearly 4,000 years ago. Linguistic evidence indicates that bulk sesame seeds were an important source of oil to the peoples of south-central Asia. Sesame still occupies a significant place in the cultures of Pakistan and India; in the latter, sesame oil is part of important Hindu rituals.