A Tale of Two Sesame Snacks: Why Tahini and Sesame Paste Aren’t Interchangeable

If you cook often and enjoy trying international foods, you've most likely come across nut butters like black sesame paste, natural peanut butter, or pure sesame paste. You might even make paste or butters at home with ingredients like black sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame sauce, or olive oil to give extra flavoring to your dishes. If that's true for you, have you ever noticed that tahini and sesame paste are very close to the same thing? Still, they're not quite the same thing. They actually have different purposes too when it comes to their taste profiles. Read on to see our analysis of both.

Sesame Paste

First, let's take a look at Chinese sesame paste. It's a great addition to different Asian dishes.

Sesame paste is often used in used in noodle dishes, salads, and as a dipping sauce for hot pots. It has a very nutty flavor that pairs well with Sichuan cuisine.

It's very easy to make at home, with the only ingredients being white sesame seeds and vegetable oil. You can also throw in some sesame oil if you enjoy it. Bake the seeds for 5 minutes, and then throw the toasted sesame seeds into a food processor to grind up. As you do this, you can slowly add in oil and that's pretty much all it takes.

Add to some dan dan noodles and you've made delicious Chinese cuisine at home.

Tahini Sauce

?Tahini is often mistaken as sesame paste because it also contains sesame in it.

What sets tahini apart is that it is mostly a condiment of Mediterranean food. It pairs well with hummus, lamb kebabs, falafel, and baba ganoush. Although, if you throw it into some stir-fry or cold noodles, it does pretty well too.

Made with toasted ground hulled sesame, this rich and creamy sauce is also much better when not brought at the grocery store. It's pretty quick to whip up and to keep stored in the fridge. All you need to do is mix the tahini with some lemon juice, water, garlic, and sea salt.

It's very versatile and great as a salad dressing as well. Mix in some chili oil if you like it a little spicy.

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