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If you’re wondering if tahini and sesame paste the same, you’re in the right place! I thought they are the same before, but they are not, and I’m going the share how they are different.
Are Sesame Paste and Tahini the Same?
Well, yes and no.
- Yes, because they are made from the same and the only thing: sesame seeds.
- But, no, they are processed differently.
Tahini is usually made with unroasted or slightly roasted sesame seeds; while sesame paste is made from deep roasted sesame seeds.
SO basically, they are not the same. But their original ingredients, aka sesame seeds, are the same.
What’s the difference?
Because sesame paste is made from deep-roasted sesame seeds, it’s stronger and more prominent in flavor.
Chinese black sesame soup and Taiwanese cold noodles are the best two dishes to demonstrate the taste respectively from black sesame paste and white sesame paste.
White sesame paste is the main ingredient for the sauce of Taiwanese cold noodles. It has unique earth, nutty, and “Taiwanese” flavor. (I feel this way probably because many Taiwanese traditional dishes involves toasted sesame oil, which is expressed from toasted sesame seeds.)
Black sesame paste has a more one-of-the-kind flavor. It’s also earthy, nutty, but also deep, a flavor that I cannot describe. It’s also slightly bitter in taste, which is one of the things I love about it.
As for tahini, the taste is more mild and close to the taste of nutty sunflower butter. But they are still different, to be clear. The taste will be different from brand to brand.
The colors of sesame paste and tahini are also quite different, in the case of the white ones.
White sesame paste is usually dark brown color. The one in the picture is quite dark brown, which is not always the case but it’s a typical one.
Tahini, on the other hand, is usually lighter in color.
Can I make them at home?
Yes, you can. But I have to say that the ingredients, aka sesame seeds, are crucial.
White sesame paste and tahini is a little bit trickier than their black counterparts.
I’ve tried to make tahini in my house but the taste is not as same as the store-bought one. My guessing is that the quality and the source of the ingredients are different, hence the different flavors.
Yet I’ve successfully made the black sesame paste several time and I think they are super top-notch!
If you’re interested in how to make them, here are the recipes I’ve shared:
- Homemade Tahini / Sesame Seed Butter
- One-Ingredient Chinese Black Sesame Paste
How to use tahini?
The first thing that led me to find tahini is hummus. And I really really love my beet hummus. It’s really not a hummus without tahini.
The other recipes I’ve shared involving tahini are:
How to use sesame paste?
As a native Taiwanese, sesame paste is one of the common ingredients in many Taiwanese dishes, like Taiwanese cold noodles and Ma Jian Mien (麻醬麵).
Honest, I don’t use white sesame paste a lot, but I always have black sesame paste in my kitchen and snack cabinet. I can just eat it with a spoon, seriously.
But I also like to use it to make:
- Chinese Black Sesame Soup
- Vegan Black Tahini Sesame Cookies (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Black Sesame Cheesecake Bars (No-Bake)
I hope the above information is helpful and clarifies the differences. If you have more to put on the table for discussion, please leave a comment down below. I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences.
PS. I’m a huge black sesame paste and tahini fan, so I hope you enjoy reading and making them as I do!