Japanese Sesame Oils: Virgin, Golden and Toasted
The old castle town of Aizu Wakamatsu lies deep in the mountains of northern Japan. Here in this historic, feudal samurai town is the Hiraide workshop, possibly the last traditional oil presser in Japan. This is truly an authentic product whose production method has not changed in centuries. Without high temperatures or chemicals, this tama shibori, "gentle pressing" labor-intensive method produces sesame oil with a fresh nutty taste and aroma, while retaining all of the oil's original healthful qualities.
- Use the Tabs below to Select your Favorite Recipe...Bon appétit!
Cooking with Virgin Oil
Virgin Sesame Oil is a superb, 100% pure, unrefined oil made by carefully pressing the highest quality Japanese white sesame seeds. The natural, low temperature process enables the seeds to retain their delicious, mild nutty flavor and an abundance of natural antioxidants that make this oil exceptionally stable. Valued for its healthy balance of fatty acids, unrefined, raw sesame oil is the supreme cooking oil. The ideal choice for daily use, Virgin Sesame Oil is easily digestible and is excellent for sautéing, braising, stir-frying and deep-frying (great for tempura), as well as in dips, dressings, and baked goods, as it can be heated to high tempatures, as it has a smoke point of 446°F degrees. Its mild flavor and subtle aroma will enhance and never overpower the natural flavors of any dish, and it can be substituted for butter for the perfect vegan dishes and desserts.
Besides its versatility in cooking, Macrobiotic and Ayurvedic teachers espouse the benefits of rubbing pure sesame oil into the skin. Also may be used for eye-treatments.
Cooking with Toasted Sesame Oil
The delightfully nutty flavor and aroma of Toasted Sesame Oil is a distinctive characteristic of Asian cooking. Like other oils, toasted sesame oil seals in nutrients and prevents burning when sautéeing, baking, and pan-frying, but its appetizing fragrance and rich taste make this oil most highly prized as a seasoning.
Use a small amount of Toasted Sesame Oil in marinades, vinaigrettes, sauces, and dressings. Toasted sesame oil will enhance the flavor of fried noodles and sautéed or stir-fried dishes. Add about 10 percent toasted sesame oil to the oil used for tempura or deep-frying. This will give the cooking oil a rich background flavor. In sautéeing, toasted sesame oil may overpower some mild-flavored vegetables if used alone, but it is delicious when used in combination with another vegetable oil, such as Virgin Sesame Oil.
The easiest way to take advantage of sesame oil's rich flavor is in braised vegetable dishes. Simply sauté a few thin slices of ginger in two or three teaspoons of toasted sesame oil. Add vegetables such as broccoli, kale, or cabbage and a pinch of salt. Sauté briefly, then add a little water. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Braised Gingered Broccoli
Chinese cooks have long known that the combination of toasted sesame oil and ginger can elevate the simplest dishes into offerings fit for your most honored guests. Any number of vegetables can be substituted for the broccoli in this recipe. Sliced cabbage, kale, carrots, or green beans are excellent choices.
2 teaspoons Toasted Sesame Oil
4-5 thin slices peeled fresh ginger root
1 bunch broccoli
Pinch Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
1 teaspoon Mitoku Shoyu or Mitoku Tamari
1 1/2 -2 teaspoons Mitoku Yuzu Vinegar
In a large frying pan or saucepan, heat oil and sauté ginger over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Cut broccoli into bite-sized florets, and peel and slice stems on the diagonal. Add broccoli and salt to the skillet, sauté a minute more, then add water to cover the bottom of pan. Cover and steam until broccoli is just tender-crisp and still bright green (about 5 minutes). Uncover broccoli, sprinkle with soy sauce and yuzu vinegar. Toss and serve.
Ginger Fried Rice
Delicious and satisfying, yet quick and easy, this dish is a good way to use leftover cooked rice. It goes well accompanied by a bean soup and a side dish of steamed greens.
1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
4 Mitoku Dried Donko Shiitake caps, reconstituted
1 small carrot, cut julienne
small pinch of Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
1 tbsp Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
4 green onions, sliced into 1-inch lengths
1 tsp Mitoku Shoyu or Mitoku Tamari
3-inch section fresh ginger root, peeled and finely minced
2 cups cooked Brown or White rice
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the mushrooms, then the carrots, and toss in the salt. Add the mirin and sauté briefly. Add the green onions and sauté for 5 minutes (carrots should still be a little crunchy, but not raw tasting). Lower heat, add shoyu and ginger, and toss. Add rice, breaking up clumps with the side of a wooden spoon. Mix thoroughly, cover, and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
Greens with Japanese Vinaigrette
Lightly cooked greens add vibrant color and concentrated nutrition to meals. The simple dressing in this recipe complements the slightly bitter flavor of the greens. Carrots and sesame seeds create an interesting contrast of color and texture.
1 large bunch leafy greens (mustard, collards, kale, etc.)
pinch of Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
1/2 medium carrot, cut julienne
2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Mitoku Brown Rice Vinegar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Mitoku Shoyu or Mitoku Tamari
1 tbsp Mitoku Sesame Seeds, toasted or sprinkle atop with fresh pine nuts.
Wash the greens and remove any tough stems from the leaves. Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the sea salt and as many whole leaves as will comfortably fit. Boil the greens until just tender (about 7 minutes for collards and kale, a little less for other greens). When the greens are tender, immediately remove them from the pot and plunge them into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking and hold the color. Drain, gently squeeze out excess water, and thinly slice. (If the leaves are very large, cut in half lengthwise first.) Cook remaining leaves.
Boil the carrots 2-3 minutes, remove, and cool under running water. Drain and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, vinegar, and shoyu. In a mixing bowl, toss the greens and carrots with the dressing. Place the mixture in a serving bowl, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve.
Here's a main course that is special enough to serve guests yet quick and easy to prepare. Shrimp Japonais is perfect when served with a simple clear soup, blanched broccoli or green beans, and a bowl of rice.
1 pound large or jumbo shrimp
2 1/2 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
3 1/2 cups Mitoku Shiitake Pieces, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons saké or dry white wine
3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 tablespoons Mitoku Sweet White Miso
3 tablespoons Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
2 tablespoons saké or dry white wine
1 teaspoon Mitoku Shoyu or Mitoku Tamari
2 teaspoons fresh ginger juice
Peel and devein shrimp, leaving on the tails. Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Add shrimp, toss to coat well, and marinate 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
Heat oil in a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Shake excess marinade off shrimp and sauté them until just pink (2 minutes). Remove shrimp and set aside. If necessary, add another teaspoon of oil to moisten the pan. Sauté onion until tender, stirring quickly and constantly to prevent burning. Next, add mushrooms and garlic, and sauté until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add sake or wine and 1 tablespoon of marinade and toss. Add scallions and sauté until just wilted but still bright green (about 30 seconds). Add shrimp and toss. Remove from pan and serve immediately.