Toasted Sesame Seeds

Toasted Sesame Seeds

Writing an article about just toasted sesame seeds?! Maybe it’s a little too much, but I feel it deserves an article of its own! Toasted sesame seeds are such an essential ingredient for Japanese food. When you toast the raw sesame seeds, they get transformed into a completely different thing. The incredibly fragrant aroma will come out from these little seeds and they become so flavorful with grounded energy.

In Japan, you can buy organic toasted sesame seeds almost everywhere, but I realized that abroad, getting raw sesame seeds is a much more common way. (Here, you have to be careful to get unhulled sesame seeds instead of hulled sesame seeds!) This means you have to toast by yourself. This extra effort, however, pays off more than you can imagine. My husband and I eat toasted sesame seeds like a precious treat. It is delicious, especially when made at home in the right way!

Versatile use

We often put these toasted sesame seeds (both white and black) on top of rice, or on various dishes to add some color and extra aroma and flavor. You can, indeed, see some of the examples in my published articles (one black sesame example here, and white sesame example here). Also, when you grind the toasted sesame seeds and mix them with some steamed or cooked vegetables and seasoning, it will become a beautiful salad. Or you can add the ground white sesame into vegan mayonnaise (recipe here) or dressing with some toasted sesame oil. It will become a beautifully Japanese flavor.

We love eating the sesame seeds as a snack just as it is, too. This is what I have been doing since I was a child. When I said to my mother, “I am hungry,” she would often have said to me “Have some sesame seeds.” Then I took out a jar of toasted white or black sesame seeds from the cupboard and ate some handfuls. Their toasty and aromatic flavor is as delicious as eating some nuts for a snack.

High in Calcium

Sesame seeds are very high in calcium, therefore, if you are in the vegan diet, eat some tablespoons of sesame a day along with the green vegetables of your daily diet. This way, you can take a good amount of calcium each day.

How to prepare

Nothing complicated. It is very simple. The only thing that is required is patience! Heat the pan to medium heat. Put the sesame into the pan. The amount of the sesame depends on the size of the pan, as you don’t want to make a thick layer of sesame seeds on the pan. About 1/4 inch thickness is the maximum. Keep stirring gently with a wooden spatula. Stir gently and slowly so that all the sesame seeds will receive heat equally. In about 5 minutes, you will start to smell their fragrant aroma more and more. Soon after, you start to hear the popping sound. Turn the heat to medium low and keep stirring. You are close. It is important for the seeds to be toasted, but you don’t want to burn them! The best way to tell if they are ready is to pick a seed with your finger and press it with your thumb and pointer finger, or you can press the seed into the spatula. If the seed will crush easily, you are done. Transfer the seeds into a bowl and let them cool down. Then enjoy the freshly toasted sesame seeds! I believe you will love this as much as we do.

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