Consuming oils in their raw, unadulterated and pure forms is one of the best things that you can do for your body. Oils often lose many of their vital nutrients in the process of cooking, particularly when food is cooked on high heat. Many health experts now opine that incorporating oils in their raw form in a healthy diet – whether as a salad dressing, or simply drizzled on food – is one of the best ways to ensure your body gets its daily quota of good fats. In fact, many Indian and International celebrities credit their use of raw oils – coconut, olive, avocado, and others – with their health and beauty.
In India, olive oil is generally the preferred choice for raw consumption. But did you know – pure, high-quality sesame oil can also be a great alternative to olive oil? Yes, our very own gingelly oil is not just great for frying vadais – it makes for a great dressing or a condiment on many Indian and international cuisines!
Why Should You Consume Raw Sesame Oil?
But isn’t raw oil bad for health? Not at all! Quite the opposite – in small quantities, raw oil provides the body with vitamins, amino acids, minerals and fats in their purest forms. Sesame oil in particular has great benefits when consumed raw.
- Vitamin Content: Sesame oil contains a good amount of water soluble and fat soluble vitamins – particularly A, B3 and E that are very sensitive to heat. When you consume the oil raw, you get the full benefit of these vital nutrients
- Flavour: One of the most important benefits and uses of oils in food is their ability to enhance taste, palatability and digestion. In the raw forms oils are most capable of these functions. Heating them changes their molecular composition. Don’t we all find deep fried foods heavy to digest? That’s because the change in the oil’s nature after heating.
- Omega -6: Rich in important but unstable Omega-6, sesame oils lose most of this highly beneficial nutrient when heated.
How do you do it?
There are many ways to incorporate raw sesame oil in your daily diet-
- Use it to mix with Idly podis
- Lightly drizzle over hot rice and sambhar or idli and sambhar
- Make a salad dressing out of sesame oil, honey, soy sauce and vinegar to drizzle over salads
- Pour around a tblsp of sesame oil over just-done hot dosas to increase their flavour profile
- Cooking Chinese? Toss your noodles or rice in a little sesame oil right before serving, and garnish with some sesame seeds.
- Instead of butter, try some sesame oil over parathas or even grilled fish
Here are two great recipes to try that use sesame oil in their raw form. Simple enough to try every day, elegant enough to serve guests!
Asian Style Summer Salad with Sesame Oil Dressing
A hearty salad that combines pulses, veggies and fruits with a touch of sesame!
For the salad:
1/2 cup sprouted mixed pulses, tossed in a little sesame oil
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup sweet American corn
1 red capsicum/bell pepper, de-seeded and cut into long, thin juliennes
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved OR 2 small tomatoes, quartered
8-10 orange segments
For the dressing:
½ cup sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar or regular vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbspn peanut butter
Pinch of pepper
Salt to taste
- Place all the salad ingredients in a bowl. Mix lightly with hands.
- Using a whisk or a small blender, combine all the ingredients for the dressing in another bowl. Adjust salt and pepper according to taste. When combined, pour over salad and toss.
- Refrigerate for 30 mins. Serve
Sesame Dipping Sauce
Great sauce to serve with Oriental Non-veg dishes like egg rolls, prawns or chicken dim sums!
2 tsps ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup soy sauce
Paste of 1 green chilli (less spicy) and 2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsps sesame oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp honey
- Mix all ingredients together. Adjust quantities according to taste.
- Cover with cling film or wrap and leave aside for an hour to allow flavours to meld
- Serve as a side dip with rolls, dimsums or wontons