Sesame seed candy
Three varieties of sesame seed candy
Place of originAncient Greece
Main ingredientsSesame seeds, sugar or honey
The term "sesame candy" may also refer to sesame halva.

Sesame seed candy is a confection of sesame seeds and sugar or honey pressed into a bar or ball. It is popular from the Middle East through South Asia to East Asia. The texture may vary from chewy to crisp. It may also be called sesame (seed) candy/bar/crunch; sesame seed cake may refer to the confection or to a leavened cake or cookie incorporating sesame.

By location

Ancient Greece and Rome

Similar foods are documented in Ancient Greek cuisine: itrion (ἴτριον) was a thin biscuit/cake made with sesame seeds and honey,[1] the Cretan koptoplakous (κοπτοπλακοῦς) or gastris (γάστρις) was a layer of ground nuts sandwiched between two layers of sesame crushed with honey.[2] Herodotus also mentions "sweet cakes of sesame and honey", but with no detail.[3] The Kopte sesamis (κοπτὴ σησαμίς), or simply κοπτὴ, was a cake made from pounded sesame,[4] only the ingredients are known and not the recipe, but historians think that it may was similar to the modern Greek sesame seed sweet (pasteli) which is made from the same ingredients.[5]

Greece and Cyprus

In modern Greece and Cyprus, sesame seed candy is still baked and called pasteli (παστέλι). It is generally a flat, oblong bar made with honey and often including nuts. Though the modern name pasteli is of Italian origin.[6] On the island of Rhodes, a similar candy exist and is called melekouni (μελεκούνι).[7]

Indian subcontinent

Various kinds of sesame candy are found in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent. Sesame Candy in the forms of Rewri/Revri ("candy coated with sesame seeds"), as well as Gajak ("sugar or jaggery sweet with sesame seeds"), is widely eaten in northern India and Pakistan; the cities of Lucknow and Chakwal are very famous for this product.[8] The Assamese tilor laru is an Assamese breakfast snack. The Maharashtran tilgul ladoo is a ball of sesame and sugar flavored with peanuts and cardamom and associated with the festival of Makar Sankranti.


Sesame seed candy is called Hei Zhima Su (lit. Black Sesame Crisp) in Chinese. Traditionally it is made with nuts (including peanuts, almonds, and walnuts) or dried fruits (including raisins and dried goji). Traditionally the sweet is made primarily with black sesame.[9]


A variety of sesame seed candy containing peanuts, alongside sesame seeds and granulated sugar, is produced in the central Quảng Ngãi province where it is referred to as Kẹo Gương. It is believed to have been produced in the region for more than 400 years.[10]


In Iran's Mazandaran Province, it is a popular local candy made in various festivities such as Nowruz and Yalda night. It is usually made as thin layers and may contain walnuts, almonds, pistachios or other nuts.


See also


  1. ^ Mark Grant (1999). Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens. Interlink Pub Group Inc. p. 54. ISBN 978-1897959398.
  2. ^ Deipnosophists 14:647, discussed by Charles Perry, "The Taste for Layered Bread among the Nomadic Turks and the Central Asian Origins of Baklava", in A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East (ed. Sami Zubaida, Richard Tapper), 1994. ISBN 1-86064-603-4. p. 88.
  3. ^ Herodotus, Histories 3:48; also in Hist. 3.44: "ἴτρια, τραγήμαθ᾽ ἧκε, πυραμοῦς, ἄμης."
  4. ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, κοπτός
  5. ^ Christina V. Dedouse (2006). Μενανδρου Σαμια. Κεντρον Ερευνης της Ελληνικης και Λατινικης Γραμματειας. p. 122. ISBN 960-404-086-3.
  6. ^ G. Babiniotis, Λεξικό της Νέας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας: "παστέλι."
  7. ^ Bee Museum, Melekouni
  8. ^ Gadia, Madhu (2000). New Indian Home Cooking: More Than 100 Delicious Nutritional, and Easy Low-fat Recipes!. Penguin. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-55788-343-8.
  9. ^ "黑芝麻酥糖的做法_黑芝麻酥糖怎么做_零零落落2011的菜谱_美食天下". Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  10. ^ VnExpress. "Kẹo gương, đặc sản bình dị đất Quảng Ngãi". (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 2022-05-12.