Sesame is good for health, especially during winters. In addition to building immunity, it is a good source of calcium, and iron. In India, sesame is especially used to make sweets and savouries as part of festivities around this time. One tasty way to add sesame to your diet is try eating Til laddoos and chikkis that are very popular across the sub-continent. There are also bunch of recipes that use sesame to make a popular sweet dish – kheer/ payasam using both the white and black sesame.
It is important to add the magic ingredient, Sesame to your diet, albeit never over do. If you are a rice eater you can try making the south Indian podis that can either be mixed with rice or used as flavouring to spice up your curries and fries. Or one can sprinkle sesame on salads or stir fries to add that extra crunch, and that includes both white and black sesame. Baking enthusiasts can sprinkle an extra fistful of sesame next time they make burger breads or multigrain breads. There is no limit to creativity. There are hundreds of recipes that add sesame in one form or the other. Here are few interesting and simple ways to add Sesame to your diet.
Traditional Telugu (South India) Style Sesame (Nuvvula) Podi:
For two measures sesame seeds add half measure of bengal gram and split black gram each, one table spoon of cumin seeds, 2 tablespoons of coriander seeds, red chillies as per spice preference, around 7-8 garlic pods all separately roasted well in very little oil. Grind them together with preferred quantity of salt and ensure the powder is not too coarse if you are eating by mixing in steamed rice. A dollop of clarified butter/ ghee – the good fat adds a whole lot of flavour to this. Alternately one can use this in all your vegetable-based curries and fries; in which case you can even add grated coconut at the time of cooking. Minus the coconut this powder can be stored for atleast 15 days in an air-tight container, and for a month if you keep it under refrigeration. For some twist you can even add flax seeds to the mixture; that will be an easy way to add sesame to your diet.
Salads/ Stir Fries:
Be it a green salad using lettuce or spinach or potato or fruit salad, roasted sesame will add nice crunch making it wholesome, nutrition wise as well. In addition, one can use sesame in Asian styled stir fries, especially those tossed in honey – it is the most traditional way to have these salads.
In China roasted black sesame and sticky rice/ sweet rice are ground together and the powder is stored to be used to make the most simple, nutty and flavourful cereal bowl. To boiled water add a few spoonsful of this powder to make the porridge. The modern way can be to add a few more nuts and fruits to make it interesting.
Alternately roasted sesame can be added to your Muesli, flakes or the regular seed mix that you keep on your table to address the hunger pangs. It is the most simple and healthy way to add Sesame to your diet.
Famous Indian cookbook author and presenter Late Tarla Dalal’s recipe for cereal is simple to make too. She uses oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, brown sugar and nuts, tosses the mix in oil, some water and a pinch of salt before baking it. This turns crunchy and can be stored to be used with raisins, fresh cut fruits and milk (vegans can use coconut milk).
Sesame is one of the most versatile ingredients, and can enhance the taste of the dish it is used in with its nutty flavour – packing in a whole lot of health benefits as well.