EOWTTA*: S is for Sesame

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

*Eating Our Way Through The Alphabet

Sez a who? Sez a me! Heh - yes, we are easily amused.

S is also for stupendous, super and shaz (*ahem*) and sorry we have been so slow with this post.

Actually I waffled (technical term) for ages trying to decide between sesame and sugar. But, at last count I had two kinds of palm sugar, two kinds of caster sugar, icing sugar, and brown sugar on hand – and I definitely do not need more. So sesame (Sesamum indicum) it is.

I’m sure most of you would be familiar with sesame in some form. There are the seeds (white, black, red), there’s sesame oil, and of course hummus fanciers would know all about tahini. (Btw, here’s an interesting link on how to buy tahini).

  From these simple seeds (pun intended), many, many tasty treats blossom – think halva, sesame seed balls, sesame snaps (which I have heard are similar to an Indian sweet known as Tilgul), and the list goes on. And of course, my favourite street bears its name.

Sesame seeds are apparently a good source of protein. It is also often touted as a good source of calcium, however the calcium content differs between hulled and unhulled sesame seeds. Unhulled sesame seeds contain higher amounts of calcium but they also contain oxalates, which can interfere with the absorption of calcium. If you’re interested in reading more, google “bioavailability” and “calcium” then wade through the scientific jargon :P.

Sesame oil 

And speaking of googling, I found out that sesame seeds contain something known as an anti-nutrient. Whoa! Sounds like some sort of interplanetary delicacy.

Speaking of delicacy (segue shaz strikes again), here’s a pic of some Greek sesame biscuits I attempted for this post. I’d clipped this recipe from a mag ages ago and seem to recall they tasted great the first time I made them. This batch? Bit boring. And not being Greek, I can’t even be sure if this recipe is “authentic”. Since I’m not sure what went wrong, I won’t post the recipe here.

But I’d like to share with you a couple of really simple ways I use sesame oil in my cooking. For a super simple vegetable dish, stir fry some minced garlic, then add green vegetables (eg: pak choy, chinese broccoli) or mixed vegetables (baby corn, capsicum, carrot, snow peas) and a dash of sesame oil and oyster sauce. Serve with steamed rice. (Makes sure vegetables are cut into even sized pieces so they cook uniformly, and it helps to stir-fry the thicker veges/stems first before adding the thinner/leafier ingredients.)

Or use sesame oil and seeds in a marinade/sauce. Here’s a quick dish I threw together using chicken, minced ginger and garlic, sesame oil and seeds, light soy sauce and thick soy sauce and honey. (I don't often post savoury food recipes because I cook Malaysian style - a dash of this, a dash of that, and don't really use measurements, so feel free to adjust all the flavours to suit your tastebuds).

And that’s about all I have to say about sesame.

For further reading, head over to Wikipedia


Hungry Dog said...

Too bad the Greek sesame biscuits turned out a bit boring! They certainly look cute as can be! I love sesame. It's really an amazing flavor and can go with sweet or savory dishes so well...but mostly savory, in my house. Sesame, ginger, soy, and chicken--you're speaking my language!

sarah @ syrupandhoney said...

i'm glad you picked sesame!

grace said...

hmm. i don't use sesame seeds often enough. i do enjoy the texture they lend to breads and the like--i think my first experience with them was on the hamburger buns at mcdonalds. boy, i've come a long way!

3 hungry tummies said...

I always have a small jar of toasted sesame seeds in my pantry just in case . Great read!! Oh don't forget the wonderful Chinese sesame paste, very similar to tahini .

Erica said...

I don't use a lot sesame seeds in my recipes!!!I love the flavor!

JT @ areyouhungary said...

Shaz, I love sesame oil with plain instant noodles and a mix of dark and light soy. It's one of my all time comfort foods!

I also left you an Over the Top blog award, drop by to pick it up if you're in the mood.

shaz said...

I know Hungry Dog - I was really disappointed because the cookies looked so cute, but tasted quite blah. And glad we're singign the same tune :) (Does it go la de da de da...)?

So am I Sarah :)

Oh yes, how could I forget about burger buns Grace!

Ah yes 3HT! Another dish I forgot. Plus my mum just reminded me about one of my fav. sweet soups as well - black sesame soup (chee ma wu??sp?). Yum!

It's a lovely flavour isn't it Erica?

Thank you so much JT - I feel very honoured :)

Vanille said...

I really like sesame oil. Such a nice taste !
Your koulourakia brings me back souvenirs...;)

Anh said...

I saw the sesame ring biscuit things in Gourmet travellers, current issue. Not good to attempt?

But I heart sesame oil. So aromatic, and an absolute must for Asian cooking! {Think chicken rice. OMG}

shaz said...

Thank you vanille

Anh - no it wasn't the GT recipe (I have this mopnth's issue but haven't had time to look at it yet!) I usually find the GT recipes very successful so I must give that one a try. My clipping is really old and I can't remember where I got it from! mmm, chicken rice :)

Fimère said...

moi aussi j'aime bien les sésames c'est parfait pour le salé et le sucré en plus ça donne un goût irrésistible
bonne journée

Barbara said...

My favorite way with sesame seeds is to sprinkle them on a lightly buttered piece of pita and stick it in the oven to brown. Yummy. Could eat it for a meal, nothing else needed. Fattening, though. ;)

The little sesame biscuits are adorable. What a shame they didn't taste as good as they looked!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Sesame is one of my all time favourite flavours, though I've never tried sesame oil, I really need to give it a try.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend
*kisses* HH

dessert girl said...

Oh, I love sesame! I always go straight for the sesame bagels. Basically, if you put sesame seeds on anything, I would probably eat it. :-)

Ellie said...

Sesame!! I like! Can't live without them. They are so versatile and add depth to a dish :)

shaz said...

The taste is really something isn't it Fimère ?

Yum Barbara, that sounds delicious!

Thank you HH, hope you're having a great weekend too.

Ooh yes, dessert girl , sesame bagels are awesome.

A little goes a long way doesn't it Ellie ? :)

Y said...

Stupendous super Shaz indeed! Pity those biscuits weren't writing about, as they look fantastic. I also love using sesame and sesame oil the way you do.