Tahini, the famous Middle Eastern dip, tastes best only when sesame seeds that are used to prepare it are toasted to perfection. Though toasted seeds are available in the markets, homemade, crispy sesame seeds will impart a fresh, earthy, and nutty flavor to dishes. Tastessence elaborates on how to toast sesame seeds at home to add flavor to different cuisines.
This magical command was used by Ali Baba (from the tales of Arabian Nights) to open the door of the cave, and it drew inspiration from the way in which sesame seed pods burst open when the seeds are fully developed. In fact, the opening of sesame seeds symbolizes all the riches on the earth.
The magical powers of sesame date back to the Assyrian myth that claims that gods drank sesame seed wine before the creation of the Earth. It is known as the first seasoning as well as the first edible oil-producing plant to mankind. The seeds are thought to have originated in India around 3,000 BCE. Later, they were introduced to Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe, and the Western countries.
Since then, sesame seeds are used in desserts as well as main course recipes. Their nutty taste and subtle crunch complement various types of food items ranging from pastas to cookies. The seeds are an extremely rich source of calcium and contain other medicinal properties as well. Therefore, using sesame seeds in cuisines or otherwise is always advisable. These seeds can be used in various forms like raw, paste, powder, or in oil form. However, to accentuate their crunchiness, it is best to toast the seeds.
5 Ways to Toast Sesame Seeds
Toasting Sesame Seeds in a Frying Pan
1. Add sesame seeds in a frying pan.
2. Place the pan on the stove, and keep the flame low.
3. Keep stirring the seeds continuously.
4. Remove the seeds from the stove once they turn golden brown. It might take 3 – 5 minutes for them to reach the desired color.
5. Spread the seeds on a flat surface, and allow them to cool.
6. Store the seeds in an airtight container at room temperature.
■ Remove the seeds from the pan immediately after they are toasted as the hot pan might burn them.
■ Add salt, sugar, or pepper to make the toasted seeds more tasty.
Toasting Sesame Seeds in an Oven
1. Preheat the oven to 176°C (350°F).
2. Lay a baking sheet on a baking tray.
3. Spread sesame seeds on the tray.
4. Shake the tray a bit to spread the seeds in an even layer.
5. Bake the seeds in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes till they are golden brown.
6. Remove the seeds from the oven and allow them to cool down.
7. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
■ Shake the tray after every few minutes to avoid burning of seeds.
Toasting Sesame Seeds in a Microwave
1. Place sesame seeds in a microwave-proof plate.
2. Cook the seeds on high power for 2 – 4 minutes.
3. Stir the seeds once or twice in between the cooking process. It will help you toast the seeds evenly.
4. After toasting, take them out of the microwave and spread them on a different surface to cool off.
5. Store them in an airtight container.
■ Spray the plate with a nonstick cooking spray to prevent the seeds from sticking.
■ Toast the seeds till they are light brown as they will continue to get darker after they cool.
Toasting Sesame Seeds in a Thermomix
The corporate group Vorwerk introduced the kitchen appliance Thermomix in 1961. This appliance is considered as an all rounder as it carries out many functions like kneading, mixing, chopping, heating, etc. Let us see how you can toast sesame seeds with the help of this kitchen appliance.
1. Add raw sesame seeds in the Thermomix bowl and close the lid tightly.
2. Set the temperature to 100°C.
3. Run the appliance on medium speed for almost 3 minutes.
4. Empty the Thermomix on a flat surface, and let the toasted seeds cool off.
■ You can use Varoma temperature option on the Thermomix to speed up the toasting process. However, keep in mind to reduce the speed to 1 while using Varoma temperature setting.
Toasting Black and White Sesame Seeds
The methods given above can be used for hulled and unhulled sesame seeds, i.e., black, white, red, and yellow sesame seeds. However, toasting black sesame seeds can get a bit tricky as it is hard to tell whether or not they are toasted. To make the process easy, add a few white sesame seeds while toasting the black ones. Changed color of the white seeds will help you determine whether or not black sesame seeds are toasted.
We hope that this article has given you enough options to toast sesame seeds to your liking. Toast them, and use them for Tahini or any of the other favorite exotic recipes. Have fun cooking!