Welcome to another Ingredient of the Week post. This week’s feature is sesame oil.
It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that sesame oil was that “little something” I was missing when I tried to create stir-fries and various Asian-themed dishes at home. Made from sesame seeds (not to state the obvious or anything), sesame oil is a popular cooking oil in Southern Indian and a flavor-enhancer in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisine. It may be made from roasted or unroasted sesame seeds and ranges in color from pale yellow to dark caramel.
It’s a good source of polyunsaturated fats and of vitamin E. It also contains magnesium, copper, zinc, calcium, iron and vitamin B6. In addition to kitchen uses, sesame oil has long been used as an alternative treatment for dry skin, in massage therapy, and has been studied for its effects on high blood pressure and other conditions.
While I can’t vouch for its dryness-banishing properties (though I know a few people who can), I can vouch for its warm taste. While it’s great in stir-fries, I love cooking eggs in sesame oil—it’s so much better than butter or olive oil!
Perhaps more than anything, sesame oil has brought my baked- tofu-making to a whole new level. Chopping the tofu into cubes and allowing it to sit in this marinade before baking results in a delicious, crispy-on-the-outside vegetarian protein you can eat with rice, in salads, or even in a sandwich or wrap.
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp brown rice vinegar (any rice vinegar is fine)
- 1 tbsp red miso paste
- 1 tbsp water
- garlic powder
- Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Toss with tofu and allow to sit at least 30 minutes before cooking.
What are your favorite ways to use sesame oil?