Can Sesame Oil Add a Flavor to Your Food? Try These Recipes to Find Out!
Oil is a fundamental ingredient in all our dishes – in fact, it is the medium we need for cooking food and other ingredients required to complete a dish. However, when the purpose of all oil is the same, what is the reason we have so many different cooking oils being used in various parts of the world?
Well, there are countless types of oils, and among them, numerous varieties of cooking oils are available in the market. And even though all cooking oils more or less serve the same purpose, people prefer using a certain type of oil because of its nutritional value and flavor.
Various types of oils differ by their nutritional value, while some oils are healthy, contain omega 3 and 6, and provide you with good cholesterol. Some oils are unhealthy for your heart and pose a threat to your cardiovascular health. But what most people don’t know is that various oils also have a distinct flavor that can actually change the taste of your dishes – most of the time in a positive way.
We are so used to mindlessly adding any available oil to our dishes that we often end up neglecting to consider whether they are healthy for us and whether the oil adds a flavor to our food or not. While most vegetable oils have a neutral aroma and taste and add minimally to no flavor to your food, some infamous flavorful oils are used in a variety of cuisine for the taste they add to your food. We know about one such oil that can completely transform your dishes: sesame oil.
You must have heard about sesame oil, the oil most popular in Asian cuisine and is known for being extremely flavorful and highly beneficial for our health. Today, we will talk about various things you can make using sesame oil and how it can add flavor to our food. So without further ado,let’s go!
What is Sesame Oil?
Sesame oil, as we mentioned above, is a cooking oil made from pressing sesame seeds – the seeds and their oil are quite famous in Asian cooking and Pan-Asian recipes. It is used in various ways, from frying to sautéing to garnishing in South Indian, middle eastern, Japanese, and Chinese cuisine. Many people find it difficult to identify sesame oil because there are two varieties of oil available in the market – light sesame oil and toasted sesame oil.
Light sesame oil is made by pressing natural sesame seeds, so it is light in color and is mostly used for neutral cooking. However, toasted sesame oil, quite evident from the name, is made by pressing toasted sesame seeds and is so dark in color and has a stronger aroma. Both types of sesame oils are used in a variety of dishes and recipes. Let’s learn more about cooking with sesame oil.
Can We Cook Using Sesame Oil?
As we mentioned above, sesame oil is used in several ways in recipes, from garnishing to sautéing; this versatile oil has a lot of use in cooking. Since sesame oil has a smoke point of 450 F, it is very much suitable for high-heat cooking as well.
Typically, light sesame oil is used as a replacement for your usual vegetable and canola oil – it can withstand high heat and is used for roasting or deep frying. However, dark sesame oil is mostly used for marination, salad dressings, and sauces because of its flavor, even though it has the same smoke point.
Does Sesame Oil Add Flavor to Your Food?
One of the biggest reasons why sesame oil is so popularly used in recipes is its unique flavor. Indeed, it’s a healthy oil, and you can switch to it for its better nutritional value but its flavor is the real reason why it is such a popular ingredient in most cuisine. Light sesame oil has a relatively neutral flavor and aroma so that it can be a great substitute for our regular vegetable oil.
But toasted sesame oil is what is really infamous for its flavor. Dark sesame oil has a rich, toasty, and nutty taste with a distinct aroma that is a unique and subtle flavor to most dishes.
Today, let’s learn to make some popular and extremely flavorful dishes using sesame oil.
Recipes Using Sesame Oil
Asian Lettuce Wraps
A famous Asian dish, which is also a healthy substitute to our usual tortilla and bread wraps. Lettuce wraps are made using various fillings; this recipe has the unique flavor of sesame oil to make it one of the best lettuce wraps you can have.
- Around 16 butter lettuce leaves or Boston Bibb
- 1 tablespoon light sesame oil
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
- 1 (8 ounces) can of water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
- 1 pound lean minced beef
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tsps grated pickled ginger
- 1 (8 ounces) can of water chestnuts, properly drained and chopped
- 2 tsps. of dark sesame oil
- Asian chile pepper sauce (to taste, optional)
How to Make it:
- Step 1: Rinse all the vegetables, especially the lettuce leaves, carefully to ensure you don’t tear them apart and set them aside. Do keep the lettuce leaves on a paper towel to ensure they are well-dried for use later.
- Step 2: In the meantime, take a skillet, add cooking oil (In this case, light sesame oil), and place it on medium to high heat. Add ground beef in the hot skillet and stir it until the mince is brown and crumbly when the oil is warm enough. This usually takes around 5 to 7 minutes.
- Step 3: After this, drain and remove the grease from the skillet and transfer your beef from it to a bowl. Now take the same skillet and cook onions. Wait for the onions to turn slightly tender (which will take between 5 to 10 minutes), and then add the rest of the ingredients, including garlic, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, chile pepper, and ginger.
- Step 4: Saute the ingredients well for a while, and then add water chestnuts, green onions and dark sesame oil as a garnish for flavor. Stir it and add the ground beef to this mix. Stir it again for at least 2 minutes to make sure everything comes together
- Step 5: Now, place dried lettuce leaves by the edges of a big serving platter or tray, and start assembling everything. While assembling, you need to pile the meat mixture on top of each lettuce leaf and fold them to make a wrap. You can take a long toothpick and stick it in between the wrap to secure it for serving.
Sesame Oil Noodles
One of the easiest and quickest noodle recipes that has also become an internet sensation these days. Asian food is gaining a lot of popularity in the west, so you also need to try these amazing, super flavorful, and simple-to-make sesame noodles.
- 2 cloves grated garlic
- Red chili flakes (as per tolerance)
- Light Soy sauce for cooking
- Dark Chinese vinegar
- Dark soy sauce
- Light Soy sauce
- Dark sesame oil
- A pack of your favorite noodles
- Salt (if needed)
- Half fried Egg for garnish (optional)
- Green onions for garnish
How to Make it:
- Step 1: Take a pot or saucepan and heat 2 cups of water. Once the water starts bubbling, put your noodles in them and let them boil. You can use ready-to-cook noodles as well as your favorite pack of instant noodles. If you are using instant noodles, you can add the pack of spices that comes along with this step as well as later – it depends on how you like it.
- Step 2: Cook the noodles till they are soft enough for your liking – once done, drain the water out and let the noodles sit for a while. Don’t forget, if you use a pack of ready-to-cook noodles, you need to run them through cold water so they don’t stick with each other.
- Step 3: Now take a medium-sized bowl and add minced garlic and hot chili flakes to it. You can also add salt as per your liking.
- Step 4: In the meanwhile, take a frying pan and heat some cooking oil (light sesame oil for its aroma and nutritional value would be perfect here). Heat the oil enough that it’s warm but does burn or turn rancid.
- Step 5: Now take the hot oil and pour it directly on the chili flakes and minced garlic. Make sure to be very careful in this step; hot oil splashes as soon as it touches the bowl. Moreover, make sure to use a bowl made of solid glass, so it doesn’t break because of the heat.
- Step 6: After letting the oil settle and cool down slightly, add around 2 teaspoons of dark and light soy sauce to the same bowl. Then around half a teaspoon of vinegar and around 1 teaspoon of toasted dark sesame oil for its nutty flavor and smell in the same bowl.
- Step 7: Stir this mixture with a teaspoon and pour your cooked noodles into the same bowl. Use a pair of chopsticks to mix everything well together, garnish with a half-fried egg and chopped green onions and enjoy your 10-minute sesame oil noodles!
Korean Galbi (BBQ Short ribs)
You want to serve all your best friends a fancy and super flavorful dish. This Korean dish is not popular around the country but worldwide. It is known as one of the specialties of Korean cuisine, and you need to learn how to make it yourself!
- Korean-style short ribs (take beef chuck flanken, cut around 1/2-inch-thick across bones)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- inced garlic, ¼ cup
- oy sauce, ¾ cup
- ater, ¾ cup
- 3 tbsps. white vinegar
- ● 2 tbsps. white sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. black pepper
How to Make it:
- Step 1: Take a large metallic bowl and pour in water, vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Mix it together, and then add garlic, black pepper, both the sugars (white and brown), and the onion. Add dark sesame oil for flavor as per your choice.
- Step 2: Now take a long spoon and keep stirring this mixture till the sugar dissolves (till you can’t see solid sugar crystals anymore).
- Step 3: Now, take the Korean short ribs and marinate them in the mixture. Make sure to turn them and cover each side well with the marinade. Once they are properly marinated, cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate the bowl for 8 to 12 hours – and just relax.
- Step 4: Once it’s been enough time for their marination, take the bowl out of the refrigerator. In the meanwhile, preheat your grill (you can use a grill pan if you don’t have an outdoor grill).
- Step 5: Heat the grill at medium-high temperature, and using a brush, cover the grill with some light sesame oil or cooking oil so it can fry without sticking to the utensil.
- Step 6: Now remove the ribs from the marinade mixture, and one by one, start placing them on the hot grill. Discard the excess marinade.
- Step 7: Cook the ribs on the preheated grill from each side. You can cook them till the meat is no longer raw and pink, or you can make them crispier and cook them for a little longer. This entire step will take 10 to 15 minutes at maximum, and voila, your Korean short ribs are ready!
Sesame Oil – Your Favorite Flavorful Oil!
Sesame oil is growing more and more popular across various countries across the world. People from various parts of the world are now discovering the various health benefits and unique nutty flavors of sesame oil that can transform even some of the most simple recipes. If you are also looking for a healthier and tastier alternative to your cooking oil, then start using light and dark soy sauce and enjoy some tasty dishes!