Chinese sesame paste is made from toasted sesame seeds and is deep, dark and intense. It is used in sauces for cold dishes, including noodles and vegetables such as this cold cucumber dish, and is also sometimes found in dan dan noodles. Many people like sesame paste as part of a dipping sauce for hot pot. Peanut butter and tahini taste quite different and are not great substitutions for zhi ma jiang. This well-known brand from Beijing is a pure sesame paste, with no additives. Make sure to stir up the solids and oil before using. If you find this difficult, you can run it through a food processor with a couple tablespoons toasted sesame oil to get a well-mixed, runnier paste for sauces.
Producer: Beijing Wangzhihe Foodstuff Group Co.
Size: 225 grams (7.9 ounces)