Sesame jam, Sesame sauce

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Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,


I wonder if it is correct to say "sesame jam" or "sesame sauce"?


I got "sesame jam" from a Chinese forum, but "jam" means a preserve of whole fruit, so I guess "sesame jam" is wrong, does "sesame sauce" make sense?


He used a spoon of sesame sauce to go with the bread.


Thanks
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I think Sesame Jam is fine ... and here's a recipe. If I saw Sesame Sauce, I would think of something savory, not sweet, and I wouldn't expect to see it on bread.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    If it's tahini -- which it sounds like it is -- then I would use that term. It's much more widely recognized than "sesame jam" ever will be.

    Very insightful suggestion from pktopp. :thumbsup:
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    A 'jam' is made with boiled fruit and sugar and is always sweet, as far as I can think, except for traffic jam of course.

    'Tahini' isn't an English food and not an English word, and it is described as sesame paste, in English. Everybody would understand what that means even if they are not familiar with tahini.


    A paste consists of a ground substance, mixed with a liquid to as thick a consistency as desired. Some edible pastes are made to be spread on bread or something like bread. I'm thinking of an immensely popular one made from nuts which have been ground and mixed with chocolate. This sort of edible paste is marketed as a 'spread'. Added: I forgot about the obvious peanut butter ( because I hate it).
    I don't think sesame paste would be called a spread because it isn't sold as a spread, and anyway, one wouldn't want to say "he spread some sesame spread on his bread".
    So I suggest calling it 'sesame paste'.
    :)
    Hermione
     
    Last edited:

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    I think Sesame Jam is fine ... and here's a recipe. If I saw Sesame Sauce, I would think of something savory, not sweet, and I wouldn't expect to see it on bread.

    Dear Mr.Copy,

    Supposedly, I need to provide more context about my question after reading the recipe you showed.

    You know, I tried my best to recollect where I have met the "jam in the jar" in the picture you showed, and finally I got it, In China, especially during the spring festival or lantern festival, you can eat a kind of dessert called "tangyuan", which means sweet dumplings, see here, and I am hundred percent sure that the filling is the so-called sesame jam, you are right, Copy, the picture you showed.

    Whereas I am wondering, "jam" shall be something you can paste on the bread or maybe in the middle of two pieces of bread, usually I guess you will you "strawberry jam, cranberry jam, whatever", so sesame jam, I think, it might be workable, but still I feel confused about it, the only thing I am sure about the sesame jam is just like you said, taste sweet, while the sesame sauce taste savory.


    Thanks
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Thank you for the additional context. If it's inside a dumpling and it's not tahini, then I would call it sesame paste. As for the dumplings themselves, they're just called sesame dumplings. They're popular around Mid-Autumn Festival. (Assuming we're talking about the same thing, of course.)
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Thank you for the additional context. If it's inside a dumpling and it's not tahini, then I would call it sesame paste. As for the dumplings themselves, they're just called sesame dumplings. They're popular around Mid-Autumn Festival. (Assuming we're talking about the same thing, of course.)
    Haha, I am afraid not, but don't worry, I showed a picture and you can take a look, you can also buy the sweet dumplings in supermarket, you can see the ingredients, one of which is sesame filling, and the filling is made of sesame, just like your recipe shows, don't worry, your suggestion is really helpful, I know how to say it.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    I think how to use the two phrases (sesame jam, sesame sauce) hinges upon the meaning of jam and sauce, like you say, one is sweet, the other is savory, I think it does help the situation, thanks.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Jam is made from fruit. A sesame seed is not a fruit. It is a seed which is more like a nut.
    Jam is made by cutting up the fruit and cooking it. Sesame paste is made by toasting the seeds and grinding them. This is the process by which peanut butter and almond paste are made. There are other nut butters and other nut pastes, but there are no nut jams.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Jam is made from fruit. A sesame seed is not a fruit. It is a seed which is more like a nut.
    Jam is made by cutting up the fruit and cooking it. Sesame paste is made by toasting the seeds and grinding them. This is the process by which peanut butter and almond paste are made. There are other nut butters and other nut pastes, but there are no nut jams.

    Hi, My

    Personally, I totally agree with what you've said. Indeed, at the very beginning I have the same idea like you, there isn't such a thing could be called sesame jam, so I guess when people use sesame jam as a term, they propbably consider sesame as a kind of fruit, basically, sesame is a sort of nut.

    I am with you, sesame paste is a good term. And I'd better say the filling in sweet dumplings "sesame filling".
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    'Sesame filling' is good, although it will not be clear that it will have been ground up, so I think 'sesame paste' is good if you want to make that clear.

    In Cantonese desserts that I'm familiar with, we also talk about 'lotus paste', 'red bean paste' (or, using the Japanese name, 'azuki bean paste'), '(sweet) groundnut/peanut paste', 'mung bean/green bean paste'.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Jam is made from fruit. A sesame seed is not a fruit. It is a seed which is more like a nut.
    Jam is made by cutting up the fruit and cooking it. Sesame paste is made by toasting the seeds and grinding them. This is the process by which peanut butter and almond paste are made. There are other nut butters and other nut pastes, but there are no nut jams.
    That definition might be a little cramped.
    One can find recipes for ginger jam and ginger preserves. One key is that it sweet and intended to be spread on bread. One might imagine a sesame flavoured "jam" (not necessarily toasting them), as one can a ginger flavoured one, no?

    Did I mention garlic jam?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    That definition might be a little cramped.
    One can find recipes for ginger jam and ginger preserves. One key is that it sweet and intended to be spread on bread. One might imagine a sesame flavoured "jam" (not necessarily toasting them), as one can a ginger flavoured one, no?
    No problem with ginger, sesame or anything used as a flavouring. I think fruit or a fruit-like substance still needs to be the dominant ingredient though, don't you? And not all kinds of sweet spread would be called jam. Think of lemon curd, or chocolate spread (nutella, etc.). Okay, there is also rhubarb jam and ginger jam, but I do think that culturally rhubarb and ginger are 'honorary' fruits, since they often go into puddings, pies and such like. There is also some natural sweetness in them, and they contain a high proportion of liquid in the way most fruits do.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Ginger and garlic are roots and part of the plant.

    To my mind, this makes them substantially different from nuts and seeds, and more like fruit, from which jams and jellies are usually made.
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Well, I guess "sesame paste" could be a very good term to use, and just now something new stroke my mind, indeed, in China, "sesame paste" could be understood as this picture shows, take a look here.
    And "sesame paste" has become a kind of dessert which you can order in some of the dessert shops, but it can't be something that uses for spreading on bread, maybe it works, but we won't do that.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The substance in that picture looks like a sauce to me. If it is poured over other food, I would call it a "sauce".

    I would call it a "paste" if it is thick, like the bean paste in Chinese pastries I have eaten. I also might call it a paste if it is thick and spread on breads.

    I don't know what I would call it if it is eaten from the bowl like that. In American English, if it is sweet it might be called "sesame pudding". However, in British English pudding has a different meaning.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The substance in that picture looks like a sauce to me. If it is poured over other food, I would call it a "sauce".

    I would call it a "paste" if it is thick, like the bean paste in Chinese pastries I have eaten. I also might call it a paste if it is thick and spread on breads.
    Cagey, it is not to be poured over food. The 'sweet' course in Chinese dining could be in the form of a thick soup. (The Cantonese name is tong sui , literally 'sweet liquid'). The closest equivalent in Anglo style dining is when a child is given a bowl of custard at the end of a meal. It is that sort of consistency. It is often described as a sweet soup in menus. I think this would be called black sesame soup. (There is a wikipedia entry for this.)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Yes, that sounds right.

    We also have fruit soups that are served for desert. I think they are from a Danish tradition.
     

    John The Hat

    New Member
    English - British
    Yes, that sounds right.

    We also have fruit soups that are served for desert. I think they are from a Danish tradition.
    I know this is an old thread, but I have a jar of this (Ning Chi Black Sesame Jam) in front of me & I was researching it. I believe that whilst the technical definitions above are wholly correct, it is better to call this product a jam because this gives the uninitiated a much better idea as to what is in the jar. The product does not resemble tahini in any real way and is much too thick to be a sauce. Whilst "spread" is probably accurate it does not give a clue to the definite sweetness of the product and "sauce" does not indicate the thickness. So whilst technically less accurate, I think that "jam" gives the best description of the jar contents to the uninitiated and is therefore perfectly acceptable.
     
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