Creamy Sesame Dip

Though this combination of flavors is most often seen on Asian noodles, it translates wonderfully into a creamy, spicy dip. Don’t leave out the tea – it adds an ineffable smokiness.

2 tablespoons sesame seeds for garnish
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup tahini
½ cup brewed black tea, at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to your taste
1 scallion (white and green parts), chopped, for garnish

Makes 1¼ to 2 cups.

1. Place the sesame seeds in a small skillet and toast over medium heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Set aside and cool.

2. Place the mayonnaise, tahini, tea, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, chili powder, and cayenne in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days to let the flavors develop. Garnish with the chopped scallion and sesame seeds.

Serve with snow peas, red and green bell pepper strips, or blanched asparagus.

From Party Dips! 50 Zippy, Zesty, Spicy, Savory, Tasty, Tempting Dips (The Harvard Common Press, 2004)