Sesame Seeds – The ‘Superfood’ In Indian Cuisine
SESAME SEEDS - THE 'SUPERFOOD' IN INDIAN CUISINE.
Sesame (Sesamum indicum), also called tila, til, raashi, ellu, and nuvvulu, has a history dating back to 1600 BC. The tiny, flat, oval-shaped seeds of the plant are not only one of the oldest known oilseeds but also the healthiest condiment ever. And when it comes to embracing the goodness of this healthful food through everyday diet, India shows the way with its delectable cuisine.
Being a native to India, sesame has an age-old connection with the country. Its cultivation started in India since the Harappan period and now, we have become one of the largest sesame producers in the world. The rich nutty flavour and delicate crunch of sesame make it quintessential to every Indian kitchen. Whether used as a stand-alone ingredient or a part of spice mixes, the condiment takes both savoury and sweet Indian dishes to a different level by adding taste, texture, and eye-appeal.
Uses of Sesame Seeds in Indian Cuisine
- Raw sesame seeds are added to various recipes for tadka or tempering. On the other hand, roasted sesame seed powder is used as a wonderful seasoning in parathas, kulchas, and Sindhi-style kokis. The paste made of roasted and ground sesame seeds is also used in cooking vegetables.
- The heat-generating seeds are used for preparing some simple yet delightful sweet snacks, such as til pitha, til gajak, tilachi chikki or til pattis, til rewari, etc. for consuming throughout the colder months.
- Til ke ladoo or tilache ladoo is a delicious Maharashtrian sweet prepared during Makar Sankranti. In traditional til ladoo or tilgul recipe, the powdered seeds are blended with palm jaggery syrup, peanuts, and desiccated coconut. There is another version of til ke laddu in which jaggery is replaced with mawa to avoid the sticky and chewy texture. Til laddu is even made with grains of rice to offer to the gods.
- In Tamil Nadu, a famous gunpowder called ‘milagai podi’ is prepared by mixing the ground powder of sesame and dry red chilli, which accompanies dishes like Idli, dosa etc.
- Raw or roasted sesame seeds are ground and sprinkled over rice, cereals, noodles, pastas, veggies, curry dishes, yogurt, raitas, smoothies, and even fruits for a strong aroma.
- Sesame salad dressing is a combination of toasted sesame seeds, herbs, and spices. Serve it with salads or sautéed vegetables or simply use it as a dip, sauce, or spread.
- Raw sesame seeds work as a crunchy topping for crispy batter-fried starters like cutlets or items like khaja.
- Sesame is a common addition to baked goods like breads, bread sticks, biscuits, toasts, cakes, muffins, cookies, crackers, candies, and so on.
- While preparing mouth-watering kebabs, sesame seeds can be added to the marination used for chicken or fish.
Sesame is certainly not just another ingredient in an Indian kitchen pantry. So, are you ready to gorge on the sesame delicacies?