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Black Sesame Paste


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I love sesame paste, in Beijing its common to put it on nearly everything...well, maybe thats going a bit too far, but it is a near daily necessity for many simple, homestyle dishes like noodles or even just dipping slices of cucumber into sesame paste as a snack.

I live in an area where there is an abundance of oriental markets, but whenever I've bought sesame paste from them, I've always been disappointed with the flavor. Even when doctored, the flavor is just too much. I've used a number of different brands and asked friends and family members in China as to what they do to turn the paste into something so wonderfully good and nothing has really helped.

So now I turn to the experts of egullet for any tips and tricks that you have to offer. Any suggestions on brands and how you "doctor" the paste will be appreciated!

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I have gone through many different brands of Sesame Paste and am dissatisfied with most of them. I finally found one brand "Lian How Brand" that seems to be the best. It's produced in California (City of Industry). Not sure if it is available where you are.

The sesame paste that comes in the jar is very thick. I found that I need to keep stirring up the sediment sesame paste. It tastes better when it's in fluid form than a paste form. I have to keep adding sesame oil in the jar before stirring.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I have gone through many different brands of Sesame Paste and am dissatisfied with most of them.  I finally found one brand "Lian How Brand" that seems to be the best.  It's produced in California (City of Industry).  Not sure if it is available where you are.

The sesame paste that comes in the jar is very thick.  I found that I need to keep stirring up the sediment sesame paste.  It tastes better when it's in fluid form than a paste form.  I have to keep adding sesame oil in the jar before stirring.

hzrt -- How do you rate Lan Chi?

I'm always loyal to the first brand I try, and that brand is it. I like it, but really haven't cross tasted it with other brands.

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[...]I'm always loyal to the first brand I try[...]

Why? Another brand might be better. But I assume you're loyal to it only if it's good. :biggrin:

Loyal to the first brand? Is this a male thing? Sort of like the first woman...

Y'all are such babies! Except for maybe Pan, which might explain why he's single. :unsure::biggrin:

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hzrt -- How do you rate  Lan Chi?

I can't remember exactly but I think I have tried Lan Chi. My impression was so-so. I have tasted many sesame pastes that are so-so.

Kind of like Sa-Cha sauce. Many Sa-Cha sauces are so-so. The only brand I like is "Bull Head Barbeque Sauce" (Sa-Cha sauce in Chinese). Their Sa-Cha sauce is great.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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[...]I'm always loyal to the first brand I try[...]

Why? Another brand might be better. But I assume you're loyal to it only if it's good. :biggrin:

Loyal to the first brand? Is this a male thing? Sort of like the first woman...

Y'all are such babies! Except for maybe Pan, which might explain why he's single. :unsure::biggrin:

Um, touaregsand, jo-mel is a woman, so perhaps you should be asking whether loyalty to the first brand is a female thing. As for who is oldest, I won't touch that one.

Michael aka "Pan"


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  • 1 year later...

I've never bought or cooked with chinese sesame paste before; any recipes with sesame that I've used in the past have called for whole seeds.

But I came across a recipe in the local paper I thought i'd try tonight, and it does call for Chinese Sesame Paste. I'll have no problem finding some at the asian shops nearby, but thought I'd call for a quick opinion on the brand mentioned, Punchun. Any experience? If not I'll look for the Lian How brand hzrt8w mentions.

scroll about half way to the Sichuan Spicy Pork Noodles recipe

think i'll go the shanghai noodles rather than the rice noodles...

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And while we’re on the topic, what about this: why is there such variation in your preferences in sesame paste? I’m not questioning your tastes, rather, I’m wondering what ELSE is in Sesame paste besides… sesame ground into paste? And a bit of oil to keep it in? is it the oil that the different brands use that causes such variation in flavour? Because I wouldn’t expect much variation in the flavours of different cultivations of standard sesame seeds.

Seems odd. I was thinking that for this noodle dish, instead of buying a jar of paste, I’d just toast a heap of seeds, crush/grind/pound, a couple of dollops of sesame oil to slightly liquefy a bit more, and call it “chinese sesame paste.” But now, maybe not … ???

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True,but a toasted version of tahina is also available, which is similar to the chinese variety. In general , though, it's a freshness issue, as with sesame oil. They both become rancid quickly and must be refrigerated. Look at the top of the jar when purchasing. There should be little free oil, this is a sign of age.

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  • 1 month later...

Not too long ago I was reading on eGullet about Chinese sesame paste. I had never heard of it, discovered that it is most definitely NOT the same thing as tahini, and since I love anything having to do with sesame seeds I figured I better buy some. So I was at Kalustyan's the other day and, there on the shelf right next to the Chinese sesame paste was Chinese black sesame paste. Of course I bought both.

But I'm having some difficulty finding recipes for the black sesame paste. Apparently it is most often used in dessert recipes, and I have found many interesting and amusing things on the web, such as:

"Black sesame paste is the greatest gift to the human race. Black sesame paste is the light of enlightenment, it is the dawn of civilization, it is the pinnacle of the human spirit. Without black sesame paste, society and all that we value as good and decent would crumble. Without black sesame paste, we tumble into a dark age. Paste-less savages would crush beauty and grace under their hairy unkempt feet. Without black sesame paste, we are quite simply doomed, we may as well roll the credits and put up a big sign reading "The End" so any passing aliens might know we are a race on the long road to ruin, not worth saving because we quite simply do not have any black sesame paste." (sirisimran.livejournal.com -- But there were no recipes there. Apparently he was working on his doctorate and subsisting on black sesame paste straight up.)

So, can anyone help out with information about and/or recipes using black sesame paste? I would greatly appreciate it.

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Thanks jsmith, but alas, no ice cream maker. (Much too dangerous a piece of equipment for the likes of me :laugh: ) But I know it is an ice cream flavor I will try if I find it somewhere "out there" somewhere (and I'm bound to do so.)

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Yes, black sesame is sooooooo good. I use the ground sesames, though, can't find the paste.

Here is the ice-cream recipe I used, but feel free to triple the black sesame seed portion.

You can also use it to fill dumplings (tang yuan). Lovely.


Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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  • 3 weeks later...

Check out Fuschia Dunlop's "Sichuan Cookery". There's a recipe for Strange-flavour Chicken in there that uses what she describes as a 'dark, toasty sesame paste' used by Sichuan cooks. There's also a recipe for Lettuce in Sesame Sauce.

Funnily enough, I bought a jar of black sesame paste a month ago after reading those recipes and after eating a delicious dish of cucumbers dressed with what tasted like chilli bean sauce, sesame paste, vinegar and sesame oil. It was in a Sichuan restaurant in London's Chinatown (New China, if you're interested - they also do it at Bar Shu).

Now I'm going to have to open that jar...

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when making TONG YUEN WITH BLACK SESAME SEED PASTE, do we really need the shortening for it? i rather omit it if possible or find something else to sub it with.

Edited by rnsmelody (log)
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the shortening helps the dough to be flexible and soft.

you can replace with other fat like butter but, shortening is prefer because it is colorless and odorless (?)


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  • 12 years later...
On 5/7/2007 at 1:00 AM, peony said:

shortening is prefer because it is colorless and odorless (?)


Shortening is highly processed and bad for your health. Real fat from certified organic animals, or processed from plants with care would be idea.

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"Shortening" is a "type" of fat. However a dictionary definition does not represent common use in an entire country's culture, or their relationship with it. Shortening in the United States is known as a synthetic substance, not nature made. And science has proven it is extremely unhealthy for the human body.


On 10/17/2019 at 7:18 PM, liuzhou said:

Real fat and oil is also 'shortening'.



Lard has clearly won the health debate. Shortening, the synthetic substitute foisted on this country over the last century, has proven to be a much bigger health hazard because it contains trans fats, the bugaboo du jour. Corporate food scientists figured out long ago that you can fool most of the people most of the time, and shortening (and its butter-aping cousin, margarine) had a pretty good ride after Crisco was introduced in 1911 as a substitute for the poor man’s fat. But shortening really vanquished lard in the 1950s when researchers first connected animal fat in the diet to coronary heart disease. By the ‘90s, Americans had been indoctrinated to mainline olive oil, but shortening was still the go-to solid fat over lard or even butter in far too many cookbooks.


That’s all changed. Now you could even argue that lard is good for you. As Jennifer McLagan points out in her celebrated book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes, lard’s fat is also mostly monounsaturated, which is healthier than saturated fat. And even the saturated fat in lard has a neutral effect on blood cholesterol. Not to mention that lard has a higher smoking point than other fats, allowing foods like chicken to absorb less grease when fried in it. And, of course, fat in general has its upsides. The body converts it to fuel, and it helps absorb nutrients, particularly calcium and vitamins.


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Thzt changes nothing. Lard is still a form of shortening and has been called that for cennturies. Because Crisco invented a "synthetic substitute" doesn't change that.


But we are getting off topic.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.


The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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