Toasted sesame oil is a notably flexible ingredient, evidenced by its extensive use in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cookery. If you’re eager to discover the potential of this fragrant oil, here are six first-rate methods for employing it.
Refreshing Salad Dressings
One of the most effective uses of toasted sesame oil is in dishes that are lightly cooked or raw. The potent flavour of this oil lends a distinct nuttiness from sesame seeds to your vinaigrette, elevating an ordinary salad dressing to an Asian culinary delight. Mix it with honey, orange juice, and soy sauce for a vinaigrette brimming with flavour. Or, simply drizzle it over a salad with a squeeze of lemon, serving as an alternative to extra virgin olive oil.
As a Finishing Oil Traditionally, toasted sesame oil is utilised as a finishing oil for a wide array of Asian dishes. The unique name and flavour derive from the oil’s toasted compounds. Adding it post-cooking, just before serving, prevents it from burning and turning bitter. This invaluable ingredient greatly improves the flavour profile and nutritional value of noodle dishes, stir-fries, and fried rice. Adding it to soups like wonton, egg drop, or hot and sour at the last moment can work wonders. Moreover, it provides a glossy finish that improves the dish’s visual appeal. In Korea, a dipping sauce with toasted sesame oil is commonly served with grilled meats, balancing their inherent gamey taste.
Infusing Flavours in Marinades
Integrating toasted sesame oil at the start of the cooking process can work remarkably well. Certain varieties of the oil are excellent additions to marinades, a traditional practice in Korean cuisine. The lighter versions are ideal, as they’re less likely to burn and are suitable for dishes that cook quickly. Aside from counteracting gamey tastes in meats, the oil can also aid in moisture retention and ensure even browning.
Incorporating in Desserts
Toasted sesame oil also finds its place in sweet dishes, especially in the iconic Chinese mooncake, where it imparts a unique nutty flavour to the crust. The oil’s nuttiness complements Western-style desserts too, enhancing ice creams, biscuits, and cakes. It pairs particularly well with chocolate.
The distinctive nutty flavour of toasted sesame oil can also add a gourmet twist to simple snacks. Consider it as a healthier alternative to butter, drizzled over fresh popcorn for a delightful snack experience.
Alternative to Tahini in Hummus
Ran out of tahini for your hummus? Not a problem. Toasted sesame oil can substitute, providing a robust sesame seed flavour. While it doesn’t replicate tahini’s texture, it still brings you close to that classic hummus taste.