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Fresh Sesame Products


liuzhou
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One of my local supermarkets recently installed a sesame seed pressing facility and is now producing sesame oil and sesame paste. Their equipment toasts and extracts the oil and the residue is turned into the paste. Of course, I bought some of each.

 

I have only used the oil so far. It tastes and smells more intensely than any I have bought before. The aroma also seems to last longer in a dish.

 

sesame2.thumb.jpg.7668f6757dea0eb2a3399f9804478e62.jpg

 

These are the white seed versions. They also do black seed oil and paste which I haven't bought yet.

 

Neither has any brand label - only a bar code on the back so that the check-out staff can deal with it.

 

I am sorely tempted to try this recipe from Carolyn Philips for celtuce with sesame oil, paste and seeds. I'll let you know how I get on with this or any other recipe. Suggestions welcome, as always.

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Here is their stall and workshop with equipment.

 

5973217cf2b10_sesamemachine2.thumb.jpg.62a88642a68799dbf2d46848ebe776cf.jpg

 

5973216fcdd2c_sesamemachine1.thumb.jpg.2bcbe42a312165e915b29c133fe140f2.jpg

The main grinder

 

When I took the pictures they were working on black seeds. You can see the paste collecting in the lowest receptacle. Above that is the grinding stone. The oil runs off on the right.

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I am very interested in a taste comparison between the white and the black, which I suspect would be most pronounced in the paste. I am thinking that the paste would be an interesting component in the flatbreads I have been wanting to make.

HC

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7 minutes ago, HungryChris said:

I am very interested in a taste comparison between the white and the black, which I suspect would be most pronounced in the paste. I am thinking that the paste would be an interesting component in the flatbreads I have been wanting to make.

HC

 

I haven't bought the black yet, but when I do will let you know what I think.

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I picked up a jar of the black sesame paste this morning. Here is a preliminary impression.

 

sesame.thumb.jpg.dbfeaa4860da0ef1fe9d0f196d603402.jpg

 

I smelled and tasted both "straight from the jar" ; i.e. No cooking.

 

The white seed paste (left) smelled pleasantly, but not strongly of sesame. I wonder how much scent will remain after it is exposed to heat. Similarly, this paste tasted for sure of sesame, but again mildly so. That isn't necessarily a complaint. It also tasted pleasantly sweet, but not over so. There was little taste of 'toast'.

 

On to the black. It was obvious as soon as I opened the jar that this had a considerably stronger sesame aroma and the 'toast' was more noticeable. Tasting it confirmed the smell impression. Stronger taste and noticeably toasted. There was a bit of a bitter after taste, too.

 

It is a bit unfair to judge these pastes this way. They are not intended to be eaten this way. The black one may mellow with cooking, for example. I will attempt to do a side by side comparison in a dish, but it may be a few days.

 

(In the meantime, I'm thinking the white paste may work well uncooked in a salad dressing. Hmmm?)

 

 

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Light tahini works well in salad dressings, IMO. This recipe for Smashed Cucumbers with Cumin Tahini has a very nice balance of lime or lemon, vinegar, oil, sesame, cumin, and garlic; the optional chili vinegar that goes with it is also a delight. (I generally am too lazy to bother with smashing the cucumbers, unless the news has been particularly vexing.) That same dressing has become a dip for other vegetables, a dip for cooked chicken, a dip for celery....hmm, maybe I'll add some to my next chicken salad.

 

I had never heard of celtuce before.  I'll have to see whether our specialty markets carry it.

Edited by Smithy
Made crucial correction of "oil" to "vinegar" (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

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33 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

Light tahini works well in salad dressings, IMO.

 

 

Yes, that's what gave me the idea (although Chinese sesame paste isn't usually a substitute for tahini. I make my own tahini - it's unknown here.

 

I hope you can find celtuce. It is a wonderful vegetable.

 

6 minutes ago, teonzo said:

I would love to be able to find fresh black sesame paste here in Italy. It would be perfect for a lot of desserts.

 

I can't see it working in desserts. It is very robustly flavoured and savoury tasting.

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When we were in Hong Kong, my wife fell in love with the steamed bao filled with black sesame. It became her favorite dessert (she doesn't like sweets).  Hard to find in NY - even in Chinatown, but we do see it from time to time on our travels, and always have to get it!

 

Supposedly, somewhere in Hoi An, there was a woman who had a black sesame pudding stall, but we never found her.

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3 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I can't see it working in desserts. It is very robustly flavoured and savoury tasting.

 

I used black sesame in many desserts in the past, being robust and savoury is not a problem if you balance your recipes. That paste would be ideal, since it's really smooth and most oil have been extracted. I tried black tahini, but it always tasted stale, most probably since there's low turnover for it. Having a black sesame paste which is smooth and almost without oil would be a great help for making mousses, sorbets, caramels, croquants and so on. Plus it has a great color. It will remain a dream and I'll continue to use a stand blender with not ideal results (not perfectly smooth, still has all the oil).

 

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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8 hours ago, teonzo said:

 

I used black sesame in many desserts in the past, being robust and savoury is not a problem if you balance your recipes. That paste would be ideal, since it's really smooth and most oil have been extracted. I tried black tahini, but it always tasted stale, most probably since there's low turnover for it. Having a black sesame paste which is smooth and almost without oil would be a great help for making mousses, sorbets, caramels, croquants and so on. Plus it has a great color. It will remain a dream and I'll continue to use a stand blender with not ideal results (not perfectly smooth, still has all the oil).

 

 

It does have a lot of oil. I still say this paste wouldn't work with desserts. I've tasted it! You are making judgements about a product without ever having seen or tasted it.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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I bought black sesame paste at Kalustyan's quite a few years ago. It sat on the shelf for a while because I had no idea what to do with it. Then I eventually started experimenting with it, adding it to cake batters, etc. It is very oily, but that's not really a problem, you can adapt a cake recipe to accommodate it. For me, the problem was that it turned everything into an extremely unappealing grey color. I couldn't get past that.

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9 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

Yes, that's what gave me the idea (although Chinese sesame paste isn't usually a substitute for tahini. I make my own tahini - it's unknown here.

 

How do Chinese (light) sesame paste and tahini differ from each other? Are the grinds different?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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7 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

How do Chinese (light) sesame paste and tahini differ from each other? Are the grinds different?

 

I'm curious, too.  I suspect the degree of roasting has something to do with it.  I can buy tahini that says it's from roasted or toasted sesame seeds but it's not as dark as the Chinese sesame paste I've seen.

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Tahini v Chinese sesame paste.Yes, as @blue_dolphin suspects, the difference is in the roast. Sesame seeds for tahini are very lightly roasted. More what I call 'toasted'. The seeds for the Chinese paste are much more heavily roasted, resulting in a very different taste.

 

Also, tahini is usually 'diluted' with other oils; olive oil if you are lucky. Chinese sesame paste is also sometimes 'diluted' or other oils substituted. Check the ingredients list. The best  sesame oils/pastes are 100% sesame.

 

 

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1 hour ago, SJMitch said:

 

Interesting recipe!  My husband introduced me to celtuce, available in our local groceries in California, but I don't usually see young ones with bushy heads like in that recipe -- we used the stalk part!  Will have to pay attention more as the seasons change.

 

It is difficult to find celtuce here with the tops still intact, too. Luckily, I have a friendly market stall holder who obliges if I pre-book. Usually people, including me, just eat the stems. This unusual approach is what first attracted me to Carolyn's recipe.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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14 hours ago, liuzhou said:

It does have a lot of oil. I still say this paste wouldn't work with desserts. I've tasted it! You are making judgements about a product without ever having seen or tasted it.

 

I haven't tasted it, definetely true. But it's made from pure black sesame without any other additions. If you say I'm not able to imagine the taste then you are the one going too far. I know the taste of highly roasted black sesame. I know the results of grinding black sesame. There will be differences in taste from my experience, that's for sure, due to the difference in quality between the raw products (I'm pretty sure we don't get top quality sesame here), due to the minor oil content, due to the finer grind. But these differences can't be that huge to make it a totally different product from what I can imagine.

Besides that, a good pastry chef (with enough imagination and skills) can use pretty much all kind of ingredients in desserts. Recent history in restaurant desserts prove it. This black sesame paste can't be an exception.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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2 minutes ago, teonzo said:

these differences can't be that huge to make it a totally different product from what I can imagine.

 

You can imagine anything you like. Your assertion that differences can't be huge is imagination, too.  I have no more to say on this.

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Is the oil the main source of the savoury flavour in fresh black sesame seeds? This black sesame dessert is a longstanding favourite of mine, and I think it's a great dessert (although I also have a relatively Italian palate), but it seems to have little or no perceptible fat (and is clearly quite processed, so far from fresh).

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On 24/07/2017 at 5:33 PM, Mjx said:

Is the oil the main source of the savoury flavour in fresh black sesame seeds? This black sesame dessert is a longstanding favourite of mine, and I think it's a great dessert (although I also have a relatively Italian palate), but it seems to have little or no perceptible fat (and is clearly quite processed, so far from fresh).

 

Difficult to say. The only ingredients are the oil and the seed pulp. I think the savoury flavour comes from the heavy roast on the seeds.

 

Black sesame is used in Chinese desserts, particularly tangyuan. However, this fresh paste is very strong and I feel would overpower any other flavours in a sweet dessert. Pastes for desserts are usually pre-sweetened.

Today, I asked the woman grinding the seeds what she would use the black paste with. She specified meat dishes and laughed when I suggested desserts. "Too strong!"

 

I haven't had the dish you mention., but I know Wing Yip well!

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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This is the kind of black sesame paste mix we use for desserts:

 

IMG_20170727_232348.thumb.jpg.c2de3264823e8c79f4f2749a6e4f93e0.jpg

 

Besides black sesame, it has rice flour, sugar, and more oil added (and some preservative).  Yeah, it's more gray than black.

 

We usually boil some rice/sweet potato/taro balls to add to it and serve it warm (here with coconut flakes on top):

 

IMG_20170714_223837.thumb.jpg.cfec85b3bd3f0d9d5cba7f08552e6878.jpg

 

Although we were out of balls today, so I just had some cold with added coconut cream, blueberries, and chocolate chips. Fast junk food. No photo, ate it all, ugly anyway (ugly-good). Heh.

 

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      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and lead us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
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