sesame seeds

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Also Known as
Til, Gingelly Seeds, tal

Description
Sesame seeds are tiny, flat oval seeds with a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible crunch. They come in a host of different colors, depending upon the variety, including white, yellow, black and red.

Sesame seeds add a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible, crunch to many Asian dishes. They are also the main ingredients in tahini (sesame seed paste) and the wonderful Middle Eastern sweet call halvah. They are available throughout the year.
The sesame seeds are extremely rich in calcium and are useful in calcium deficiency.
Natural sesame seeds are largely served in bakery products such as breads, bread sticks, cookies, candies, pasta, vegetables & curry dishes. The toasted variety of natural sesame seeds are used in chocolate, ice-cream and halva.

Black sesame seeds
The black variety yields the best quality of oil and is also best suited for medicinal purposes. Black sesame seeds contain higher levels of antioxidants than brown. Black sesame has a reputation in both the Ayurveda and Chinese traditions as an anti-aging food. Natural Black Sesame Seeds are mainly used for medicinal purpose & flavorings on various bakery products.

The Japanese name for black sesame seed is Kura Goma. It carries medicinal properties and it is therefore advisable to take them raw or roasted or its oil to cure some of human diseases. They are added in several plates, salads and dressings. These natural black sesame seeds are rich in calcium, protein, and B-Vitamins.

These natural black sesame seeds have a nutty taste and are sprinkled on several varieties of vegetables, noodles and even in rice. And also can be used in pie crusts as well as a substitute for nuts. Furthermore it can be garnished on various starters or as crispy coating on various food items.

Roasted and powdered sesame seeds
To roast and powder sesame seeds, first dry roast the clean sesame seeds in a hot pan till they turn crisp. Cool slightly and blend in a mixer into a smooth powder. Store in an air-tight container and use as required. This powder can be used in variety of dishes like puranpolis and to garnish some desserts as well. This powder can also be added to gravies to make them creamy and thick.
Roasted sesame seeds
To roast sesame seeds, heat a non-stick pan and dry roast the sesame seeds till a nice aroma comes out from the seeds or till they turn very light golden brown in colour and crisp and crunchy, Cool and store in an air-tight container. Use as required. Roasted sesame seeds are used to add nice crunch to variety of dishes like puran polis, namkeen puris and also in some Indian desserts.
Sesame paste
Description

Tahini or sesame paste is a paste of ground sesame seeds used in cooking. Middle Eastern tahini is made of hulled, lightly roasted seeds. East Asian sesame paste is made of unhulled seeds. Sesame paste is an ingredient in some Chinese, Korean, and Japanese dishes; it is used in some versions of the Szechuan dish Dan dan noodles. Because East Asian sesame paste is made from unhulled seeds, it is more bitter than tahini, and higher in some nutrients. Made from toasted sesame seeds, sesame paste has a texture and flavor similar to peanut butter, which can be used as a substitute.

How to select

Sesame paste is made from crushed sesame seeds and has quite a nutty taste. It is available in jars, cans and also in dehydrated form. Check the expiry date before buying readymade paste.

Culinary Uses

" Tahini or sesame paste is a major component of hummus bi tahini and other Middle Eastern foods. Hummus is a chick pea based spread, using chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Hummus goes very well with flat breads such as pitta bread.
" Tahini paste is used in a variety of dishes. Tahini-based sauces are common in Arab and Israeli restaurants as a side dish or as a garnish, usually including lemon juice, salt and garlic, and thinned with water
" Another middle east dish that uses sesame paste is Baba ganoush. This dish uses roasted Aubergine (egg plant), garlic, ground cumin, lemon juice and salt
" Sesame paste is a popular condiment for meat and vegetables in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is also a main ingredient in soups. As a spread, tahini can replace peanut butter on bread, though the flavor and texture are quite different.
" In Iraq and some gulf countries, tahini is mixed with date syrup (rub) to make a sweet dessert usually eaten with bread.
" Sesame paste is becoming more common in European cuisine and can be found as an ingredient in some pre-packaged sandwiches.

How to store

Sesame paste should keep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for a number of weeks.

Health benefits

" Hulled sesame seeds does not grind the whole sesame seed and because of this it does not contain as much calcium, protein and vitamins as unhulled. Unhulled tahini is made from the whole sesame seed and it the most nutritionally packed type of sesame paste.
" Sesame paste is a good source of essential fatty acids (EFA), these EFA's are used in helping to maintain healthy skin
" Because one of the ingredients in sesame paste is sesame oil it has quite a high calorie content. Because of this tahini should be used in moderation. The good news is the majority of fats in tahini are unsaturated rather than saturated
" Tahini is a source of vitamin E which helps to reduce the rate of ageing in body cells.
" Sesame seeds are also a good source of the amino acid Methionine
Sesame powder
Description

Sesame seeds are tiny, flat oval seeds with a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible crunch. They come in a host of different colors, depending upon the variety, including white, yellow, black and red. Sesame powder refers to roasted and ground sesame seeds. The selected natural white sesame seeds are cleaned to high purity levels. Then they are roasted to bring a distinct flavor, and then ground to powder. Be sure to keep tossing, they tend to burn very easily. It's hard to judge when they brown or burn. So be extra careful. Keep the heat low and you can easily judge with the smell. It may take 2-3minutes.This Roasted Sesame Powder as well as Parched Sesame Powder can be used to extract Roasted Sesame Oil out of it and can also be used in food and confectionary. Sesame powder is also popular in South Indian states and used in various gravies and curries.

Black sesame seed powder- Black sesame seeds are roasted on a hot plate and ground finely in to powder. The black powder looks a bit more exotic and is also more fragrant and more intense tasting than white ones. You could use white sesame seeds for a milder flavor. Black sesame powder is mixed gingelly oil and dals to make a tasty accompaniment to rice preparations.

How to select

The sesame seeds to be roasted and powdered should be uniformly bold in shape and white in color, so that it remains white even after baking and sticks to breads well.The seeds should be free from dust, stones or ant debris. the powdered sesame seeds should be without any lumpiness. Check the expiry date before buying prepackaged sesame powder.

Culinary Uses

· The white sesame powder is most commonly used in bakery goods such as buns and breads for its crunchiness.
· Sesame powder can be had with rice just as itself or can be used to spice up curries
· Sesame powder can be used to make chutneys at home with cumin seeds, salt abnd red chillies. Enjoy with rice with a dollop of ghee or use this powder to spice up anything you love
· A few other recipes involving sesame powder are crescent rolls topped with ssesame powder, snake gourd curry with sesame powder, etc.
· Sesame seeds powder add a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible, crunch to many Asian dishes. They are also the main ingredients in tahini (sesame seed paste) and the wonderful Middle Eastern sweet call halvah.

How to store

The sesame powder can be stored in an air tight container and used for months.

Health benefits

· Not only are sesame seeds a very good source of manganese and copper, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber
· In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure.

How to Select
Sesame seeds are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you can purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the sesame seeds are covered and that the store has a good product turnover to ensure maximal freshness.

Whether purchasing sesame seeds in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture. Additionally, since they have high oil content and can become rancid, smell those in bulk bins to ensure that they smell fresh.

Culinary Uses
· Add sesame seeds into the batter the next time you make homemade bread, muffins or cookies.
· Use it as the traditional seasoning to enrich the taste of your food.
· Sesame seeds add a great touch to steamed broccoli that has been sprinkled with lemon juice.
· Spread tahini (sesame paste) on toasted bread and either drizzle with honey for a sweet treat or combine with miso for a savory snack.
· Combine toasted sesame seeds with rice vinegar, soya sauce and crushed garlic and use as a dressing for salads, vegetables and noodles.
· Grind the seeds fresh shortly before using them.
· Sprinkle the ground seeds over cereals, vegetable dishes, or fruit.
· Sesame seeds can be blended with water, in a blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle. Depending on the amount of water, you can make a sauce, dressing, dip, pesto or spread. Adding spices or herbs, or using an apple or orange instead of water, can create many different flavors and textures.
· Sesame butter is made from ground whole brown sesame seeds It's a whole food, but not freshly made. Make your own sesame spread, fresh, by blending whole raw sesame seeds with water. If you do use sesame butter, be sure not to get the toasted kind.
· Sesame seeds may be baked into crackers, often in the form of sticks.
· Sesame seeds are also sprinkled onto some sushi style foods.
· Also in Tamil Nadu, 'Milakai Podi', a ground powder made of sesame and dry chili is used to enhance flavor and consumed along with other traditional foods such as idli.

How to Store
Unhulled sesame seeds can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. Once the seeds are hulled, they are more prone to rancidity, so they should then be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Unrefrigerated seeds should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to three months, refrigerated up to six months or frozen up to one year

Health Benefits
· Not only are sesame seeds a very good source of manganese and copper, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber.
· In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals.
· Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.
· Sesame seeds are a very good source of the minerals copper and manganese. They are also a good source of magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorous, vitamin B1 and zinc. In addition, sesame seeds are a good source of both dietary fiber and monounsaturated fats.




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