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What is Sesame Seed Spice?

Say ‘open sesame’ or click to find out more about this ancient spice.

Sesame Seed Spice
Sesame Seed Spice

Description

Crisp and crunchy dried sesame seed spice is used as a culinary seasoning to add a subtle nuttiness. The seeds can be extracted for their oil or used whole toasted.

What does it taste like?

Sesame seed spice is mild, nutty, and sweet in flavor which is intensified when toasted with a clean woody caramel aroma.

Sesame Seed Spice Uses

Sesame seed has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years and now gained prominence in many other cultures including Middle Eastern, American, and Asian. 

The seeds are used to garnish burger buns, dressings, paste, oil, breadcrumb, scattered over salads, in noodle dishes, and in eggs. 

Sesame provides texture and a nutty component to snack bars, baked goods, and glazed ingredients while the oil is used both as a dressing and in cooking.

Sesame Seed Substitutes 

  • Poppy seed: even though poppy seeds have little to no flavor naturally, baking or toasting the seeds can bring out a slight spicy and nutty flavor remnant of sesame seeds.
  • Flax seed: have the same nutty flavor profile as sesame seeds.
  • Sunflower seed kernels: have a mild nutty flavor, but are slightly larger than sesame seeds and therefore provide a texture and crunch in dishes that’s similar to that of sesame seeds.

Compliments and Pairings 

Both sesame seed spice and the oil varieties are extremely versatile providing a nutty element to contrast or complement ingredients including lemon, garlic, ginger, soy, poultry, honey, pistachio, dough, spring onion, tofu, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, chili, pork, nuts, mushroom, carrot, miso, cabbage, noodles, rice, salad greens, potato, egg, fish, and shellfish.

Expiration and Storage

  • Seeds: store white and black seeds in an airtight container away from direct light and moisture for up to three months. 
  • Oil: once opened store in the refrigerator for up to one year.

Fun Facts About Sesame Seed

  • Ancient Egyptians used ground sesame seed as a flour.
  • Sesame was believed to hold mystical powers which explain the famous phrase ‘open sesame’ in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, 

Where do they come from?

Native to sub-Saharan Africa and cultivated in India. Sesame seed spice is harvested from the sesamum indicum plant, which is a member of the Pedaliaceae family. Black seeds grow in the pods of the plant which are then generally hulled to remove the bitter outer layer and produce the more delicate white sesame seed. YOu can for more nerdy details about the spice on wikipedia.

Popular Recipes

  • Halvah
  • Tahini
  • Sesame garlic chicken
  • Pasteli
  • Sesame dressing
  • Soy and sesame short ribs
  • Sesame hamburger buns
  • Sesame, sunflower and poppy seed bloomer
  • Sesame crusted salmon
  • Sesame steak and noodle salad