Sesame oil is one of the commonly used vegetable oils in Southern parts of India and is known by different names such as til oil and gingelly oil. The oil is extracted from nutrient rich seeds, sesame and is used as flavoring agent in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisine.
History And Origin Of Sesame Seed Oil
The oil is extracted from sesame seeds which were grown during the Indus Valley civilization and were the major oil crops of the time. The oil was treated as a condiment and reached Mesopotamia in 2500 BCE. The Hindi word for oil is Tel which is a derivation from Til, a Hindi name of Sesame. The oil of sesame seeds was used for cooking and medicinal purpose before 600bc by Assyrians. The oil was considered sacred by Hindus and was used to light lamps in temple.
Sesame Oil Benefits
For cooking- The edible vegetable oil enhances the flavor of many dishes of different world cuisines.
Medicinal properties- The oil from sesame seeds has been used for healing purposes since the Vedic Period. The Vedas mention about it as oil excellent for humans. The oil is rich in anti-bacterial properties and helps in curing various skin fungi like athlete’s foot fungus. Oil extracted from sesame also helps in solving the dandruff problems and makes the scalp nourished.
Helps curing diseases- The sesame oil is also effective in treatment of diabetes, migraines and hepatitis and vitro. Vaginal yeast infections can also be treated with this oil. Sesame seed oil bath is helpful in getting rid of body toxins.
Antioxidant- The oil works as an antioxidant and helps in neutralizing the free oxygen radicals in the body. Cholesterol levels are also maintained with this oil.
Culinary Use Of Sesame Seed Oil
Baking- The tasteless and odorless characteristic of sesame seed oil makes it a perfect option for baking.
Salad preparation- The oil is one of the commonly used oil for making salads.
Pickles- Many pickles in Southern India comprising mango, ginger, and lemon are made using this oil.
Margarine production- The oil is one of the main ingredients in making margarine.
For omelets and pancake- Heavy sesame seed oil is ideal for making omelets, pancakes and stir frying meats and vegetables.
For frying- Light sesame oil is used for frying because of its high smoke point.
For seasoning- The oil is used as a seasoning in East Asian cuisine.
Selecting And Storing Gingelly Oil
The oil is readily available in bottles in all food stores. Golden color oil free of any granules and lumps should be selected. The oil should be stored in dark and cool place and if unopened can be stored for a year. Plastic containers should be avoided while storing the oil as it sometimes leads to change of taste. Once opened, sesame oil should be consumed within two months.