Sesame oil, you are delicately fragrant when used to sauté vegetables. You add a subtle flavor to chicken marinades. You are a little expensive, but I don’t mind very much because your golden hue and mastery of melding with other ingredients in sauces make me blissfully happy. I want us to be together for eternity.
I’m sorry, you were saying? You don’t care how much I love toasted sesame oil? Well, you should, because it’s good for your body (no saturated fat, high in antioxidants if you go for that kind of thing, may lower blood pressure) and might even inspire your poetic brain regions! Following are several EASY suggestions for sesame oil use in quotidian cooking that will add flavor to your dishes while removing saturated fat if you use it as a replacement for, say, butter.
But before that, let’s have a hearty welcome for A Fork and a Bowl’s BRAND NEW PHOTOGRAPHER!! Craig Glick Miller of Lucid Eye Studio will be shooting a picture or two of the cooking process/final product of my recipes when possible. One day he’s going to be a really expensive professional photographer, as evidenced by the outstanding introductory pictures on his site. So thank him for being inspired to try out my crazy ideas, because he will be the one making them look so ridiculously appetizing. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming… food!
1 lb asparagus
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp Lime juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
This is one of the few side dishes I actually make frequently during asparagus season, because it’s absurdly easy and SO delicious. Start by WASHING your asparagus and chopping the tough ends off the stems. Now add the oil to a pan and turn to medium heat. Once the oil’s hot, toss in the asparagus, followed by the lime juice, cayenne pepper, and salt (optional, really—I usually make this dish without). Flip every couple minutes to make sure the asparagus cooks evenly and doesn’t sear too early, about 6 minutes total: after it starts to get a little bit soft, turn the heat to medium-high and sear slightly for an extra tasty effect!
(Disclaimer: charred meats are supposedly carcinogenic. I don’t know if the same can be said about veggies, but if you want to avoid all risk, just cook at medium heat until soft enough to easily slice with a knife. Still delicious!)
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
You’ve probably made rice before, so I won’t break it down into details, thereby insulting your kitchen intelligence! Put rice and water and sesame oil in a pot and bring to boil; turn down to simmer until the water’s all absorbed. The nice part about adding the sesame oil to your rice is that it makes your kitchen fragrant while you’re cooking the rest of your dinner, and removes the need for any kind of sauce. I would serve this rice topped with steamed veggies like broccoli or zucchini; or use with diced carrots and spicy (pre-cooked) chicken to make lettuce wraps; or mix with sauteed onions, diced tomatoes, chopped spinach, and spices to make stuffed peppers!
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp warm water
1 tsp honey
fresh-ground black pepper
black sesame seeds
This one’s particularly tough to make, but I believe in you! If you have a whisk, awesome. If you don’t, use a fork. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and STIR REALLY FAST! Let set in the fridge for about an hour, then add to fresh or steamed delicious leafy greens (my newest favorite is Yu Choy Sum: check it out). Keeps for a good while in a closed container in the fridge—just remember to shake before using!
And there you have it, folks. Three delicious, absurdly easy uses for sesame oil. I don’t use crazy-expensive sesame oil—in fact, I believe I purchased my most recent bottle at Kroger, and I’m sure they only have one variety. And it tastes fantastic. I hope you try and enjoy all of my suggestions, and I encourage you to post your most successful uses for or adventures with sesame oil below so I can try YOUR favorites in MY kitchen!