After spending hours scouring recipe books and conducting tasting experiments, I've found the following flavor pairings all go well with Sesame. Click on any match to view its flavor matches.
E.g. Cauliflower cake.Another great dish which destroys the myth cauliflower is dull. As the author states:
This recipe is part of my ongoing campaign to give cauliflower some well-earned glory. It's one of the most magnificent of all vegetables and, to me, is as versatile as the treasured potato Yotam Ottolenghi "The Guardian"
Cauliflower and sesame seeds are mixed with eggs, flour, basil and other spices and baked in the oven to create a morish savory cake. You can grab the recipe over at The Guardian
E.g. Chinese Sesame Chicken.Originating from American Chinese restaurants, Sesame Chicken is made by deep-frying corn starch battered chicken pieces, coating them in a sweet, tangy, sticky sauce, and covering them in tons of toasted sesame seeds. The chicken is incredibly crunchy, and the sesame seeds add a textural and nutty counterpoint to the sticky sweet and sour sauce. This video recipe will make you drool.
E.g. Hummus.This stuff is like freakin' crack! Banned from diet clubs around the world and the scourge of Atkins. One scoop of this delicous dip is all it takes for you to get sucked in to this bean crack den. And please don't try to rationalize your dirty habit by saying chickpeas are a good source of protein - they're still a carb.
Take a couple of tins of chickpeas, A cup of tahini paste, 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 4 cloves of garlic and salt. Pulverize in a blender, adding 5~6 tablespoons of cold water to help things mix.
Boom! Homemade crack!
E.g. Japanese cucumber salad.Another really simple and fresh salad using sesame and cucumber. Cut up the cucumber into 1 inch chunks. If you are using the bigger western variety of cucumbers, you should deseed first to get rid of the watery center. Then create a simple dressing of sesame oil, white or black sesame seeds and raiyu. If you don't have raiyu try adding a dash of chili powder instead. Mix the dressing with the cucumber and season with salt. Place in the fridge to chill and then serve.
E.g. Baba ganoush.Whilst most people have heard of hummus, there are plenty who don't know about Baba Ganoush, a rich smoky dip made from roasted eggplants and tahini (sesame seed paste).
Slowly roast some aubergines either on a bbq, under the grill, in the oven, or one by one over a gas flame. Cook until their skins turn black and their flesh softens into a gooey mixture.
Score a line down each of their lengths and fold them out to expose their smoky flesh. Then spoon the flesh into a bowl and mix with generous amounts of tahini, garlic, and lemon. Add a little paprika too if you feel like it and serve with pita bread.
Why this pairing works:Sesame has a strong pine-like flavor profile due to the presence of aroma compounds called terpenes. Whilst the scent of pine forests is probably the last thing that comes to your mind when thinking about mangoes, they too have this compound, making these two a great match. Next time you eat mango, try and spot the piney notes.
E.g. Sticky rice pudding with mango and sesame.Khao Niao Mamuang is a classic Thai dessert that partners sticky coconut rice pudding with fresh slices of mango and topped with a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Why this pairing works:Both peanuts and sesame share nutty and roasted flavors. Sesame, however, brings more woody, smoky and malty notes to the mix. This is a really harmonious combination and great for comfort food
E.g. Tantanmen Ramen.Tantanmen is a famous Japanese ramen dish that combines a soul-warming creamy peanut and sesame soup with spicy fried pork and tender but firm ramen noodles. This is some serious comfort food and a great winter warmer.
Why this pairing works:Both spinach and roasted sesame share flavor compounds with a sulfurous quality. Spinach has the compound dimethyl trisulfide, and sesame contains furfurylthiol. In addition to this common link, sesame’s meaty and smoky flavors pair well with spinach’s earthiness.
E.g. Sigeumchi-namul (Korean spinach and sesame). A brilliant and simple illustration of these two is the Korean side dish Sigeumchi-namul. This is a simple dish of blanched spinach mixed with smoky sesame oil, meaty garlic, umami-rich soy sauce, and topped with roasted sesame seeds. Maangchi has a great recipe here.
Squash / Pumpkin
E.g. Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za'atar.> The flavors here are incredible--the earthy tahini is a perfect match to the sweet squash and onion, while the za'atar adds a pop of sharp, herby pungency and the pine nuts offer richness and a bit of textural contrast.
That is what Serious Eats had to say about these two flavors when they tried this awesome recipe from the book "Jerusalem" by Yotam Ottolenghi.
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi have you roast the squash and onion in generous chunks in a super hot oven and then let them cool to room temperature. For serving, the vegetables are drizzled with a rich tahini-lemon-garlic sauce the texture of good honey, sprinkled generously with za'atar, and garnished with toasted pine nuts. Serious Eats - "Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za'atar"
You can see the exact recipe over at Serious Eats.