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Jul 30, 2012 04:08 PM

Asian Sesame Paste

I've a recipe for cold sesame noodles that calls for "Asian Sesame Paste" (not to be confused with sesame oil, or sesame tahini). I don't recall ever seeing it, but it's available, according to my recipe, at Asian and specialty markets.

If anyone here is familiar with Asian Sesame Paste, do you have a favorite brand? Thanks.

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  1. Tahini is sesame paste. Does your recipe say not to use tahini? I'd never heard of any other kind, but maybe one of these is what you're looking for:

    3 Replies
    1. re: John Francis

      Thanks very much for the link John. I'm sure one or more of those products is the paste in question. Was wondering if any Chowhounders familiar with sesame paste had a preferred brand.

      Here's the recipe from the New York Times:

      The recipe notes the difference between Asian (or Chinese) sesame paste and tahini. Tahini is made from raw sesame seeds, and sesame paste is made from toasted sesame seeds.

      P.S. For what it's worth, I've read elsewhere that authentic takeout flavor calls for Jif peanut butter!

      1. re: John Francis

        Technically you're right: tahini is a paste made from raw sesame seeds. Asian sesame paste, on the other hand, is made from roasted seeds, which leads to a darker and stronger-tasting paste with more texture than one typically finds in tahini. That said, I use tahini and a little sesame oil to make my sesame noodles and am quite happy with the end product.

        1. re: JungMann

          Bet they're great, and I'm a huge tahini fan. If I can't readily track down the sesame paste, I'll follow your lead. Thanks for chiming in.

      2. This is the brand that is readily available at my grocer. My groceer sometimes gets a Japanese sesame paste (neri goma) in a tube. I've had good results with either.

        I do not think of tahini as a good substitute for sesame paste in Japanese/Chinese recipes, you'd be better off using peanut butter.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BigSal

          Very helpful, Sal. Thanks.

          Am looking forward to my first jar of sesame paste. Strange that it isn't better known in the West. Sounds like a nice thing to have on hand.

        2. If you go to any Chinese or general Asian market it should be pretty easy to find "Asian" sesame pastes. They are usually separated into black and white sesame paste. Black is more common for desserts like tang yuan while white for cold noodles, ban ban ji, and things of that sort. Next time when you go to your local Chinese market you can try asking them about it. Here are the Chinese characters for white sesame paste 白芝麻醬

          As Sal mentioned, Tahini really isnt a very suitable substitute for Chinese sesame paste considering the taste is quite different due to the roasting process.