Sesame paste, or neri goma, is a thick paste with a rich, nutty flavor of white or black sesame seeds. The Japanese use it for savory and sweet dishes.
Sesame paste or neri goma (練りごま “kneaded sesame”) is a rich and flavorful puree made from finely ground toasted unhulled sesame seeds. This nutty, thick paste is used in savory and sweet dishes.
Table of contents
What Is Sesame Paste (Neri Goma)
Sesame paste is a thick paste consisting of finely ground toasted sesame seeds. You can find three types of sesame paste in Japan, ranging from black to white to golden variety. It’s one of the many ways the Japanese incorporate health and delicious sesame into their diet.
What Does It Taste Like
It has a nutty and flavorful flavor. The texture is thick, like peanut butter.
Difference Between Sesame Paste and Tahini
You’ll find various sesame paste used in different cultures. The Japanese paste is identical to Chinese sesame paste (zhī ma jiàng, 芝麻酱) as both are made with ground toasted unhulled sesame seeds. Tahini, a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, is made from raw, untoasted sesame seeds. The seeds may be hulled or unhulled.
Since the Japanese and Chinese pastes are made from toasted sesame seeds, both versions are darker and have a nuttier and toasted flavor than tahini. There are many brands out there, so the quality and taste of the sesame paste vary.
How To Use Sesame Paste
There are plenty of uses for sesame paste. And if you’re vegetarian/vegan, it is a lovely ingredient to add to your staples as sesame seeds are packed with nutritional benefits. Here are some delicious ideas:
- Dipping sauce for vegetables, meat, tofu, hot pot like shabu shabu.
- Dressings for salads (goma dare)
- Noodle sauces Black Sesame Dan Dan Noodles, cold soba salad, etc.
- Desserts including Black Sesame Ice Cream, puddings, steamed cakes, protein-packed breakfast cookies, smoothies, etc.
White and Black Sesame Paste Recipes
How to Make White Sesame Paste
Here’s the tutorial on how to make Homemade White Sesame Paste.
How to Make Black Sesame Paste
Here’s the tutorial on how to make Homemade Black Sesame Paste.
Where To Buy
You can find Japanese sesame paste in Japanese grocery stores and some well-stocked Asian grocery stores. There are a few brands available on Amazon or online Asian grocers.
- Japanese white sesame paste on Amazon
- Japanese black sesame paste on Amazon
- Black organic tahini on Amazon
- Japanese and Asian Grocery Stores
How To Store
For store-bought sesame paste, keep your unopened jar in a dark, cool place away from direct sunlight. Once opened, store it in the fridge and use it within 4-6 months.
You can tell if sesame paste has spoiled by the smell and color. As sesame paste contains oil, it would smell rancid. Also, if it shows signs of discoloration and an unpleasant bitter taste, it’s time to toss it away.
Store homemade paste in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month. If you wish to keep it longer, you can freeze it for half a year.
The closest substitution for Japanese sesame paste is the Chinese sesame paste. You can use tahini in a pinch, although expect a milder flavor.
Aside from its versatile culinary uses, sesame paste offers several health benefits that can be particularly useful for vegetarians/vegans or follow certain diets such as gluten-free.
- It contains healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals such as Vitamins B1 & E and magnesium. It’s also rich in anti-inflammatory properties.
- An excellent plant-based source of calcium, iron, and protein.
- Sesame seeds contain compounds that may promote brain health and protect nerve cells.
In traditional Asian medicine, the Japanese believe sesame paste is good for your hair and skin. We hope you enjoy incorporating sesame paste into your cooking!
More Japanese Condiments to Add to Your Pantry
🛒 You can also buy these Essential Japanese Pantry on our SHOP page.