Open Sesame!!

It was almost a year ago that I signed up with Sunitha to guest host the event that focus on those special ingredients that enhance the flavor and aroma of the dish yet are nutritionally insignificant… Yes, I am talking about the spices and you would have guessed by now that this month it is my turn to be the hostess of THINK SPICE...

Spices can be anything from dried fruits, seeds, arils, dried buds, stigma, roots and rhizomes to resins. This month we are going to ‘think’ about a seed – Think spice – Think Sesame seeds - The seed of immortality!!

Sesame seed is an ’ancient‘ spice and this spice is known to have been cultivated in the Indus valley and Harappa between 2250 and 1750 BC!!

This seed has been used as food, medicine and to light lamps from a very ancient time. In one of the legends, it is said that the Gods drank sesame wine the night before the earth was created!

These ancient seeds range from creamy white to black color. The light colored ones are favored in the West and middle east and the dark ones are valued in the far east. They are prized for the nutty taste they impart to the dishes and as well as for the oil they yield.

These seeds goes well into sweet and savory dishes due to their nutty flavor. They can be tossed into salads, added to breads, the oil drizzled over cold noodles, ground and used as a seasoning for pasta, vegetables or rice, used to decorate or garnish dishes, ground with other ingredients and used as a dip/dressing. These are just a few examples as to how they are used in the culinary world.

Sesame seed is indeed a rare seed as it contains high quantities of methionine and tryptophan as well as other amino acids and it makes a perfect balance of amino acids in a vegetarian diet when combined with grains and legumes.

Sesame seeds have about three times the calcium content of milk. They also have magnesium, vitamin A, some B vitamins, sesamin lignan-an antioxidant, zinc, phosphorus, copper, iron and potassium. Modern studies have found the oil to have wide medical and pharmaceutical application, it is a mild laxative, has anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and many other beneficial qualities.

With plentiful of uses as food and medicine, and loads of nutrients, share with us delicious recipes that highlight sesame seeds for this month’s Think Spice event.

A few guidelines for the event

1) Post a recipe using the sesame seeds, in any form you desire (seeds, powder, etc.) and it would be really nice if the spice could hold it’s ground in the dish and is not overpowered by many others. After all, the post is supposed to be dedicated specially to them.

Feel free to share all your thoughts and information on the chosen spice. You can also mention how important this spice is in your kitchen i.e. how often you use it, apart from cooking do you use this spice for any other purpose and of course does this spice bring to you any fond memories - maybe from your childhood or did you cook this spice for someone special or did someone cook this for you on an unforgettable moment.

2) Include a link back to this announcement and to Sunitha’s page for the benefit of the readers and for future references.

3) Email me the following details to
a. Your Name
b. Name of Your blog

c. Recipe name

d. URL of the recipe

e. What type of dish you are sending [Starters, Desserts, Snacks etc]
f. A photo of your creation

4) Non bloggers can also send me your entries with the name of the dish, recipe and the photo of the dish.

5) Use of the logo is appraisable.

Rush in your entries before 10th July, 2009 !!

Please leave a message in the comments section after you have sent your entries.