Just like Chinese and Japanese sesame oil, Chinese sesame paste is made from toasted sesame seeds, and is a thoroughly different product from Middle Eastern tahini or sesame pastes sold in whole foods stores. The Chinese paste is dark brown in color, very aromatic and strong in flavor, and has the consistency of cement that is just about to harden. A layer of oil typically floats on top of the paste and keeps it moist.
The oil that floats on the top of the sesame paste is not the equivalent of a top-quality Chinese or Japanese sesame oil. I discard it.
© 1982 Barbara Tropp estate. All rights reserved.