Sesame – A Global Delight!

Sesame seeds or Sesamum Indicuma plant is not only a native to Africa & India but widely used across the globe. Asia is the largest consumer of Sesame Seeds & the west is surely following the footsteps. Sesame seeds are like one of the super food since ages where our ancestors found multiple ways to consume this amazing seed. As time passes we are still able to find many ways of consuming this power house of energy & we shall keep finding new ways to incorporate these little wonders in our diet.

The primary use of Sesame seeds in Asian countries is in the form of cooking oil. Sesame seeds oil content is approximately 45% to 52% & is stable oil for cooking purpose. It is known as the king of vegetable oils in the east & the Queen of Vegetable oils in the west due to its nutritive value & content of anti-oxidants such as sesamin, sesaminol & sesaminolglucosides.

The Japanese rightly say, that “Food is to be tested by eyes first & then by the tongue”. They pay detailed attention to the way the food looks & use sesame seeds for garnish, with the right crunch & added flavour. Japanese even ground these beauties on the table & have it as a spread on any given dish. But the highest consumption in both the Japanese & Chinese cuisines is the oil of the seeds.

Moving a little ahead, the Middle Eastern folks have a unique way of consuming Sesame seeds. They ground the Sesame seeds into a thick paste known as Tahini. Tahini is used as a dip & further used to make many delectable dishes. It is indeed a very tasty way of consuming Sesame Seeds. Nowadays it is also added to the peanut butter for that extra nutty flavour. Though it is famous due to a completely different reason, a dish known globally today – the Hummus. Hummus is made by mixing Tahini & Chickpeas paste. We can taste it with pita bread or add to Falafel, but with that added Sesame oil on the top, so yummy!

The Middle Eastern countries have really contributed quite a lot when it comes to Sesame recipes. Another very delicious dish is the Halva. Halva is a sweet delicacy made from Sesame paste & honey. It is widely consumed in the Middle East, Greece & Israel.  Each one has their unique version of the recipe for halva, but all are without dairy & gluten. Such an amazing source of energy for those avoiding dairy & gluten products!

The sesame seeds are consumed in the west but in very little quantity as compared to the east. The western countries use Sesame & honey to make Sesame bars. Sesame seeds are also used in chocolates & mainly consumed as confectionery. The seeds are de-hulled & sprinkled on bread, burgers & snacks. They are also consumed in crackers & sesame sticks.

Today the Sesame prices are soaring but even then the level of consumption is high, such are the benefits of these amazing seeds. Sesame seeds are a very good source of manganese, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamin, B1, selenium & dietary fibres. A great source of energy recommended for bodybuilders. Since ancient times we are consuming these great seeds without completely knowing the health benefits. But I am sure after knowing the same; we will find many more tasty ways to add these to our diets.

Sesame is truly a global delight and most of the dishes are not complete without adding this crunchy flavour over the top.