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.
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 ☺