Until a few years ago, sesame paste was not commonly available and many recipes substituted peanut butter. Now, tahini, the Middle Eastern sesame paste, has gone mainstream. (Chinese sesame paste is still not widely available, but may be found at Asian markets and online.) Tahini is not the same as the Chinese sesame paste, but they are interchangeable. The primary difference is that tahini contains hulled, raw sesame seeds and the Chinese version is made from toasted sesame seeds, making it darker, nuttier and bolder in flavor.
Cold sesame noodles have been standard takeout fare for decades. Now, you can easily make them at home, using ubiquitous, quick-cooking pasta for an easy weeknight meal. At its simplest, noodles, edamame, tahini, soy sauce and garlic combine for a solid supper. Carby comfort doused in a sour, salty, bitter, sweet and umami-packed sauce, what’s not to love? And, if you add garnishes, the return is even greater. Top it with shaved cabbage, grated carrot, chopped green onions or matchsticks of cucumber.
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