Toasted Sesame Seeds
Toasted sesame seeds are essential in Korean cooking. You can buy toasted sesame seeds from most markets. But they are not as fragrant and tasty as when they are freshly toasted. And you can easily toast them at home. It’s very quick. It’s very economical. So why would you not give it a try?
In Korean cooking, crushed sesame seeds are called “kkae sogeum”, which directly translates in to “sesame salt”. It’s quite an apt name given the fact that kkae sogeum is commonly used to flavor a great number of Korean dishes. You can use a lot or a little. It all depends on your preference. Korean cooking is very flexible that way. It’s not so precise. It all depends on your taste or tolerance(Korean dishes can get VERY spicy!).
I don’t toast more than about 1 1/2 cup of sesame seeds at a time. The toasting process draws out oil from the seeds. The oil from toasted seeds tend to go rancid quicker than raw seeds. So I make sure I use them up within a month or so. And I always keep them in the fridge.
I rarely have problems using up toasted sesame seeds tho. I use them in most of my Korean dishes as well as Mediterranean dishes. For instance, I use them in hummus, in place of tahini. Tahini is basically sesame butter. So I process the toasted seeds with a bit of lemon juice and olive oil. And voilà! You get the picture. They are very versatile.
Toasted Sesame Seeds
1 – 1 1/2 cups of raw sesame seeds
- Place the raw sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat. Toast about 5 minutes. Shake the pan occasionally and stir with a spatula while toasting.
- Check for “doneness”. You can tell that the sesame seeds are well toasted when the color turns gold brown. You will also hear crackles. But the easiest test for “doneness” is to grab some seed in between your thumb and the index finger and rub your fingers together. (Make sure they are not too hot!) If the seeds are well toasted, they will crumble. And the smell, mmm… So fragrant.
- Sprinkle it on just about anything. Oatmeal. Salads. Noodles. Rice. Stir-fries. Etc… Enjoy!