Chinese sesame paste is made from sesame seeds, roasted to a dark colour. The taste is comparable to peanut butter, but fuller and more nutty.
Some brands of sesame paste add a small percentage of peanut. Therefore, check the label carefully if you do not want that. I think the combination of sesame paste and some peanuts give a nice round taste. Still I prefer to buy paste with 100% sesame to keep control over the ratio of sesame and peanut.
An easy alternative: mix smooth peanut butter with a little roasted sesame oil.
Make it yourself
The paste is easy to make with roasted sesame seeds and a little sesame oil. Put this sesame and oil in a food processor and mix into a smooth paste. It can be stored for a month in the refrigerator.
Where to buy and how to store?
The sesame paste can be bought at a Chinese food shop. Store in the refrigerator after opening to prevent the oil from turning rancid. Very important: mix the oil and sesame well before use.
How do I use the Chinese sesame paste?
Sesame paste is used for many applications in Chinese cuisine. Mix sesame paste, chili oil, pinch of sugar and soy sauce for an easy dip. The pasta is also used in sauces for noodles and salads, such as the sesame peanut sauce in the famous Sichuan chicken salad “Bang bang chicken”.
But it is also very tasty with roasted cauliflower.