Peanut butter and jelly, Arab-style. What does that look like? To me, it’s tahini and carob molasses, and you’ll kick me for not sharing this sooner.
If you’ve tried carob in the health-food context and didn’t love it (think carob as a chocolate replacement), stay with me. It tastes completely different as a rich, spoony syrup.
Though molasses may be more widely known for its roots in American and British cooking, Middle Easterners are no strangers to it. It comes in several varieties in the Arab world, including date, pomegranate, mulberry and carob, and is used widely in marinades, salad dressings and sweet treats like this one.
Carob molasses, or dibs el kharrub in Arabic, is made by boiling the carob pod in water, then straining and slowly reducing the liquid to a sticky, ribbony, sweet-tart syrup. It lasts a lifetime and can be found in the aisles of your Middle Eastern grocer, usually rubbing shoulders with pomegranate molasses and rose water. There are a few links between carob and iron support for anemia/low iron sufferers like myself. Some studies link high antioxidant counts to both the carob and grapes used to make the molasses, as well as high vitamin content. Tahini is also rich in minerals and protein, which makes this an afternoon tea you can feel good about.
Normally, one would swirl (lustingly, of course, for dramatic effect), warm Arabic bread into the mixture. At the time of taking this photo, however, I couldn’t look past the divinely crusty ends of a sourdough loaf perched on our counter. Any bread will do, but if you have access to some fresh Arabic pita, I highly recommend that.
To make this simple but satisfying snack, ladle a few spoonfuls of tahini into a small plate or bowl, and drizzle over enough molasses to suit your tastebuds. Dive in with pinches of bread, a book, a cup of tea, a trashy movie, or whatever feels right.