Originating from Asia, sesame seeds have become one of the most popular culinary condiments in the world. These seeds are known for the rich nutty flavour they lend to meals; so, it is no surprise that many restaurants across the globe have incorporated them into their dishes.
Asides the flavour, sesame seeds are also used in cooking for the many health benefits they carry. They are rich in phytonutrients, vitamins (B and C), phosphorus, selenium, poly unsaturated fatty acids, omega-6, calcium, iron, and dietary fibres. They have been shown to help reduce blood pressure, fight diabetes, lower cholesterol level, aid digestion, prevent cancer, boost hair growth and so much more.
Food companies have devised many ways to nourish their foods with these seeds. From sprinkling them on bread buns, to baking them in foods, and drizzling sesame oil on icecream, sesame seeds are now a staple ingredient in the kitchen of many food companies.
McDonald’s, the 2nd largest fast-food chain in the world, purchases about 75% of Mexico’s sesame crop for use in their sesame seed buns worldwide. The white sesame seeds, especially known to be slightly sweet and have the aroma of lightly caramelized milk, roasted peanuts, and honey are sprinkled on the otherwise plain white bun.
They add a little bit of flavour, texture, and are visually pleasing. McDonald’s also uses the seeds to give their buns a distinctive look and mouthfeel that customers will usually not find anywhere else.
Another company that makes use of these seeds is the Canada-based Middle Eastern restaurant, Tahini’s. The name of the restaurant itself is gotten from a paste made from sesame seeds, Tahini.
Tahini is made by toasting the hulled seeds for about 2 to 3 minutes, grinding them, and them combining the ground powder with a neutral oil to form a smooth paste. This paste is rich in flavour, vegan, and gluten-free. Tahini’s uses tahini as the sauce in their mouthwatering shawarmas. The restaurant also uses it in their famous hummus which is made by blending cooked, mashed chickpeas with the tahini, lemon juice and garlic. The hummus is then served with garlic & cabbage sauces, as well as fresh-cut tomatoes with some warm soft pita bread and meat for the restaurant’s special.
Zingerman’s Bake house
Zingerman’s Bake house, a bakery under the Zingerman’s company uses sesame seeds in their baking. The seeds and tahini are baked into their cookies and croissants to give a nuttier flavour to the snacks. Also, because seeds are used and not nuts to get the flavour, it reduces the number of people that will suffer allergic reactions from it.
Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant
Sesame seeds are also used as a garnish in Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant in Sylvania. The seeds are roasted to intensity the Nutty flavour. They are also ground into a smooth powder that could be sprinkled on rice, or on sushi pieces.
Other Foods that use Sesame
In Japan, ice cream topped with sesame seeds has been gaining a lot of popularity in the country. Both the white and black seeds are used to deliver the rich flavour associated with sesame.
Sometimes, sesame oil is drizzled on the ice cream to give a deeper and more wholesome taste. Sesame crackers are made by glazing the cracker dough in soy sauce, adding sesame seeds, then baking them in the oven. These crackers are delicious and are a healthy alternative to chips.
Goma-ae is a popular Japanese side dish served in Japanese restaurants in the west. Made with spinach, green beans and sesame seeds, Goma-ae is a clever way to eat vegetables with the seeds. The vegetables are cooked, and then mixed with sesame sake sauce or miso paste and some sesame seeds are sprinkled on top.
Chinese restaurants in the United States serve a dish known as Sesame chicken. As the name implies, the seeds are used in the preparation of the dish. The dish is made from chicken thigh pieces that have been de-boned and Chinese deep-fried. The fried chicken pieces are stirred in a semi-thick, reddish-brown, sweet sauce. The sauce is made from corn starch, vinegar, wine, chicken broth, sesame oil and sugar.
The dish is topped with small sesame seeds and sometimes served with vegetables such as spring onions and broccoli.
General Tso’s chicken
Another dish you will find in North American Chinese restaurants is the General Tso’s chicken. This dish is quite similar to the Sesame chicken. But it is spicier and less sweet due to the absence of brown sugar.
It is prepared by deep-frying battered chicken thighs until they are golden brown. Then tossing the fried piece in a sauce made with soy sauce, garlic, red chilli flakes and hoisin sauce. The final touch involves sprinkling a generous amount of sesame seeds and green onions before the dish is served.
Sesame oil is used in a good number of recipes in food companies worldwide. It is majorly drizzled on salads and not used to fry due to its low smoke point.