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Cooking with Sesame Seeds


Chris Hennes
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Due to a "typo" on my grocery list a few weeks ago I wound up with an extra pound of sesame seeds. I've got a few bread recipes that call for a decent quantity, but I don't have much time for baking at the moment. What can I do with them in the savory kitchen that will use a lot up all at once?

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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Do you have a high power blender? You can make some tehina from it. You can also dust any baked good with them, like the crust on a pizza or on a pretzel with or without salt.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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A while back I was looking for a cracker recipe and happened upon this one from Fine Cooking. The first time I used all sesame seeds for the topping, but had trouble with them all falling off. So the second time, I mixed sesame seeds into the dough (toasted first) and was fairly happy with the results. I didn't pursue the project any further so I never wrote up my recipe, but I recall adding about half a cup of sesame seeds.

You can also add them to tempura batter.

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There are lots of Japanese-inspired dishes you could make out of them. Check out Torakris's eGCI course on Japanese food, where she makes goma-ae, or sesame dressing. I like it on any green vegetable, and this time of year on pumpkin.

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There are a few spice powders that utilise sesame seeds. Also, when roasted with spices such as cumin, black pepper and chilli, and ground and mixed with a little water they make a lovely sauce for cooked potatoes (the sauce should be heated).

There's also a South Indian rice dish sesame rice - it's really good.

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Oh, that's another thing I like to do with them. Toast them lightly, add some salt, and turn them in to a freshly cooked pot of rice; stir to distribute seeds. Have the rice as you would regularly.

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tahini sounds reasonable to me and it will keep for a while

toast sesame seeds in a pan

add salt and grind them in a mortar

add olive oil to turn it into a paste

optional lime juice and sesame oil to adjust taste

store in a cool place in preserving jars - if you use clean spoons it will last for a long time

About me: Jonas Frei - Artisan Cuisinier / PolyScience, ETI, Kisag, SLB distributor for Switzerland. 

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Erin & Jenni, what do you eat sesame rice with? And Jenni, is your method the same as Erin's? It sounds delicious.

ChrisZ, my husband loves prawn toasts - but I've never thought about making them at home...hmmm. I don't like prawns myself, but there are some interesting flavour possibilities there.

My first thought was dukkah, maybe with some turkish pide for dipping? There are a lot of versions of dukkah around, and I gather every family has its own, so do a search if that one doesn't quite appeal. I made the pide a few weeks ago for the first time, and it is delicious, with a perfect texture. It is a bit tough to transfer onto the stone though, as the dough is very soft.

If you have extra dukkah, you could use it for one of these recipes:

(which I have made and is very good), or

(which I haven't tried, but am intrigued by).

There's a lebanese bakery around the corner from where I take my uni exams, and it's become a bit of a tradition for me to get a coffee and a zah'tar topped flatbread before every exam. I have an exam next week, and there's only one reason I'm looking forward to it!

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Chris,

Little known (I suspect) fact about sesame seeds is they were brought to the US by African slaves and were, and still are called here in Charleston, SC, benne seeds. There is a 1 inch diamater and very thin wafer for which Charleston is famous (similar to the popularity of Moravian cookies from the Winston-Salem area of NC) that is suprisingly (tongue in cheek) called benne seed wafers. It is a sweet item, but well worth the effort. Never make them since the cookies are prolific here due to the history as a slave trade center, but a google search will provide recipes.

Savory ideas: chicken breasts that are floured, dipped in egg and then sesame seeds. For a delicious gag I made an all black meal for a friend's 40th birthday- sauteed black sesame seed encrusted chicken breasts, squid ink tagliatelle and black beans. I have also used sesame seeds in breads (especially the multigrain bread in The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum), breadsticks, Asian flavored dips, sprinkled on hummus, etc.

Edited by Tom Gengo (log)

Tom Gengo

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Erin & Jenni, what do you eat sesame rice with? And Jenni, is your method the same as Erin's? It sounds delicious.

I got the idea from the house rice at Soup Stock Tokyo, a chain of fast-food soup restaurants in Japan. But I think it's a fairly traditional Japanese usage for sesame seeds, especially gomashio. I like this rice with a side of soup, or any main dish. It's also nice packed into a bento or as onigiri.

I'd never seen Jenni's method, but that also looks like something I'd want to try. Jenni, I assume basmati rice is generally used with this method?

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^^

nakji, no basmati would not usually be used. It's a south indian dish, so some south indian variety of rice would be used. In practice, you can pretty much use any rice that cooks into nice separate grains, so any long grain rice really, or a medium grain. I have even used rosematta rice (which is really quite short and plump) with success. Basmati would be unnecessary, and a bit of a waste. Remember that the aroma of the sesame is strong, so it would mask the delicate aroma of basmati.

ETA: As for serving suggestions, ellu sadam (that is the Tamil name of the dish, there are others in other languages) is one of many rice "variety" dishes, such as lemon rice, coconut rice, tamarind rice, coriander rice, sambar rice, curd rice, etc. They can be served with chips (appalams, potato chips, tapioca chips, dal chips, plantain chips, etc.) and various relishes for a light meal (especially good when travelling) or with many other dishes as part of a meal. I usually take a rice variety for lunch every day.

Edited by Jenni (log)
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I just remembered a confection in Peter Grewling's Chocolate & Confections. It has a layer of sesame seeds coated in caramel that is mixed with dark chocolate and then topped with a mixture of milk chocolate and tehina.

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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^^

nakji, no basmati would not usually be used. It's a south indian dish, so some south indian variety of rice would be used. In practice, you can pretty much use any rice that cooks into nice separate grains, so any long grain rice really, or a medium grain. I have even used rosematta rice (which is really quite short and plump) with success. Basmati would be unnecessary, and a bit of a waste. Remember that the aroma of the sesame is strong, so it would mask the delicate aroma of basmati.

ETA: As for serving suggestions, ellu sadam (that is the Tamil name of the dish, there are others in other languages) is one of many rice "variety" dishes, such as lemon rice, coconut rice, tamarind rice, coriander rice, sambar rice, curd rice, etc. They can be served with chips (appalams, potato chips, tapioca chips, dal chips, plantain chips, etc.) and various relishes for a light meal (especially good when travelling) or with many other dishes as part of a meal. I usually take a rice variety for lunch every day.

Ah, I just assumed. So, would jasmine rice work in some of these dishes? I have several varieties of rice available to me, but most of them are short grain. Thai jasmine rice is easy to get a hold of, though.

Also, I think we now need a "Rice Variety" topic in our India forum. Hint, hint.

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  • 4 years later...

Sean Brock regularly calls for benne seeds in his book. At one point he mentions that it's different to sesame, although Wikipedia says benne seeds = sesame seeds (the website of an Australian spice seller, Herbie's, agrees on this point). The exact same thing or not, 'normal' sesame is probably the closest I'll get, locally, to benne. Are the black seeds or the white seeds the better option? Both are readily available.

Chris Taylor

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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

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