Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chinese sesame paste

Chinese sesame paste is made from roasted sesame seeds; tahini from unroasted sesame seeds, and that is the fact difference between the two.  Taste-wise, as the Moon Goddess would say, were you to not have access to Chinese sesame paste, it is my opinion that if you were to mix equal quantities of tahini and peanut butter, you would pretty much square-on get the flavour of this.

That said, the picture heading this post is of my supper tonight minus the sauce, which is very brown and thus generally speaking non-photogenic (though many, many American MoFies have proved me wrong about this in their Thanksgiving posts).  Nevertheless, I got scared and did a beauty shot of the dish pre-sauce.  Chinese sesame paste comes in a jar like this:

And yeah, as you can see, no matter how you calculate dates, it's well past its best before; however, as we all know, tahini, like peanut butter, doesn't really go bad for a long long time, and besides, this jar was sealed until today.  Here's what the paste looks like:

Darker than tahini, about the same shade as natural peanut butter.  With it, I made a variation on this recipe, subbing out Soy Curls for chicken.  I think Butler Foods ought to make me the Canadian spokesperson for Soy Curls.  I would so write a Soy Curls cookbook for free in exchange for an unlimited supply of product (ahem, have I mentioned this before?).

Gratuitous beauty shot of lightly fried Soy Curls
The Canadian Living Chinese sesame noodles with chicken recipe is almost assuredly not really Chinese, but it is very good.  In celebration of the last day of VeganMoFo 2010, I made it super-fantastic, with the addition of chayote, carrots, sweet red pepper, edamame beans, tofu, and sriracha sauce to the original.  Here's what I ate:

Thirty days, and actually more than 30 new ingredients tried, especially counting the Chinese soups!  I'm hoping to do a recap later tonight, but in the event I don't, it's been a riot and MoFo once again a fun and very rewarding experience, both in my own life and in appreciating the blogs of others.  I love this event!  Thanks once again to the organizers and everyone who participated!


  1. Roasted sesame paste sounds delicious! I'm going to have to try it...gee, have I said that before on this blog?:D

    We'll have to whip Butler Foods into gear about that cookbook idea! There's only one place I know of that sells soy curls around here...but if you put out a cookbook for them, I'll get off my lazy booty, head over there and get some pronto!

    Your Mofo efforts were awesome, so informative, so interesting, and so fun!! Thanks so much for all the fun and new ingredients...and for being our own vegan food adventurist!

    Oh, and did you post about the bottle gourd? I couldn't find it, but want to read about what it's like! What's it like compared to the chayote for example?

  2. Yum! That looks delicious. I've never tried soy curls, nor have I seen them in grocery stores... but I mightn't have been looking hard enough.

    I agree with Rose - your posts this month were wonderfully adventuresome, and a joy to read. :)

  3. Stellar mofo-ing, Zoa! Trying 30-plus new foods in 30 days must be some kind of record. I'm not aware of anyone else meeting a goal like this. It's been great fun following along and seeing all the weird stuff you've tried. (Bat nuts not included.) I intend to get some amchur powder, among other things, so you've given me some ideas about things to try, too. I hope you'll continue the adventure, but maybe at a slower pace.

    Why not send Butler Foods a proposal. You just never know what will happen.

  4. Rose, thanks for your kind words. The bottle gourd, a.k.a. opo squash, never did get posted. Believe it or not, I tried quite a bit of stuff that never made it onto the blog, either because, like ginko nuts, I didn't like it, or, like opo squash and amchoor powder, for no good reason at all! I'll have to do another post on it in the future, but it was one of the zucchini-like things, with a smooth semi-soft uniformly light green skin. Young, they're edible all through. It's when they get big and old that you can use them for gourds. Unlike chayote, you wouldn't generally enjoy eating opo squash raw, but would use it in chunks in stews and stir fries. The taste is mild and pleasant, but not as pleasant as chayote, and the texture is much softer.

    Kelly, I've not seen Soy Curls in regular grocery stores either. People tend to assume they're Asian, but they are an American invention and product, so they're not in oriental stores, and there are no "natural food" (sorry, I always have to put that in sarcastic quotation marks) stores near me, and the one time I did get it locally, it was two years past its best before and since it is a whole soybean product it had gone stale. The upshot is that I order mine right from Butler Foods, http://www.butlerfoods.com/

    Andrea, thanks! It has been a great adventure, albeit pretty rushed, and I'm looking forward to consolidating my gains in the near future and learning more about the foods I've tried so hurriedly this month. And, yes, trying other new things too!

  5. If not a cookbook deal, at least a commission. I just ordered a box of six bags of Soy Curls.

  6. Hey, Shenandoah, enjoy! I buy them in sixes as well.

  7. Well done on all your MoFo'ing - I've really enjoyed your posts.

  8. I loved following all your adventures with new found foods! I agree with Rose about a Butler Food cookbook. Photographs of your creations would be much more appealing than the ones on their site!

  9. I loved your contribution to Mofo, it was always informative! And this post is so pretty... almost too pretty to eat! Almost. ;)

  10. Looks delicious! I still haven't gotten around to trying the soy curls. Someday, and hopefully soon. Awesome job on all of the mofo posts! :-)

  11. This looks delicious! I've saved recipes calling for sesame paste, then couldn't find it or forgot to look, then found it but didn't buy it because I couldn't find the recipe...it's a vicious cycle that I don't even understand as I rarely cook from recipes to begin with. The taste of tahini cut with peanut butter sounds great to me, so next time I'm buying a bottle.

  12. And thank YOU! I loved your MoFo theme and I think you did a great job trying all those new things. I only wish there was a asian/indian/middle east supermarket here.

  13. In China the date is not the best by date it is the date it was made.