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New to using Sesame Oil, how should it taste, how and how much to use?!

I purchased an 'Asian Family' brand sesame oil as my first trial, but returned it as it tasted not so much toasted as charred. Reading CH and a recommendation at the Asian supermarket brings me to Kadoya sesame oil. Kadoya also has a pronounced smokiness, but not like my first trial. Do all sesame oils share this smokey quality? Is there such a thing as untoasted sesame oil that can also be used as a condiment/flavouring? And finally, any recipes featuring the best of sesame oil CHers care to share? Thanks all!

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  1. Sesame oil should taste roasted, and a small amount goes a long way. Store in the fridge, or it will quickly go rancid. I use it in many dishes. It makes a lovely salad dressing: mayo thinned with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a splash of sesame oil. (If you have some miso, throw a little of that in, as well.)

    1. Even though you are supposed to refrigerate it, I keep it at room temp. I like to drizzle sesame oil directly on things like tofu, marinated nori, chow mein, daikon and radish salads, soups, etc., so I like to have it at room temp and not cold when I use it.

      I've never had problems with it going rancid, although admittedly I generally use up the bottles I buy within a month or so.

      Try not to buy more than you'll need for a couple months, this way you won't have problems with rancidity.

      And, yes, sesame oil should have a nice strong toasty element to it. It has very prominent flavor profile so use sparingly. Best for garnishes and not as a cooking oil generally.

      1. Regarding untoasted sesame oil, you can certainly buy untoasted sesame oil but it's not intended to be used as a condiment or flavoring like the toasted oil - it is generally flavorless.

        As to recipes, check out the home cooking board. But generally toasted sesame oil is a flavoring component added at the last moment - cooking it diminishes the flavor, so I believe most uses you'll find include it either as part of a dipping oil (like for dumplings or noodles), or dressing (salads or noodles), or drizzled on meats, stir-fries, and the like, after cooking.

        1. In southern India, unroasted sesame oil, also called gingelly or til oil, is the oil of choice for frying. Toasted/roasted sesame oil has a much lower smoke point and, as others have said, isn't generally used for cooking or frying, although it is sometimes added to stir fries. I lke to drizzle a little on green vegetables like spinach and asparagus. Kadoya is a very good brand.

          1. You could use a large part of it to make Korean Bulgogi. The recipes I have call for cups of it at a time...

            1 Reply
            1. re: xIcewind

              Yep. My recipe calls for equal parts sesame oil and soy sauce, along with heapin' helpins of minced garlic, scallions, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

              And I simply love the flavor of sesame oil in general. May try it as a "secret" ingredient in a batch o' chili one of these days.

            2. You can give grilled or fried meats a great flavor addition by lightly brushing them with a small amount of the roasted/toasted sesame oil about five minutes before cooking.

              1. Generally speaking, sesame oil should have a very intense aroma and flavor, and should be used as a finishing drizzle, rather than to cook/fry with.

                You can get less intense sesame oil, but then it sort of ruins the point of it, IMO. Sort of like saying "This EVOO is too fruity...should I get light olive oil instead?"

                Use it in general to finish stir fries, add a drop or two to soups, or toss cooked vegetables with it.

                It generally works very well with soy sauce. I like to make a soy sauce - citrus - spicy - sweet - scallion/garlic dipping sauce that goes well on almost anything, especially tofu.

                3 Replies
                1. re: joonjoon

                  General thanks for posts! joonjoon, could you give me more specific idea of the proportions you use for your dipping sauce? I don't have the intuition for the ingredients as used, so I need a little hand holding! Thanks!

                  1. re: jbrcoll

                    Umm...I'm not really sure what the exact ratio would be - everyone's tastes are different. But off the top of my head I would say something like...equal parts soy + acid (Rice vinegar, lime juice, etc), to a half part of mirin. If you don't have mirin you can add some sugar, honey, or even maple syrup. Add a tiny bit of garlic, some chopped frest or dried chile peppers, and enough thin sliced scallions for there to be some scallion in every bite/drizzle.

                    Don't be afraid to experiment - you really can't screw this stuff up. If it's too salty add more sugar/vinegar. If too tart add more sweet/soy. You'll figure it out.

                    Finish with a light drizzle of sesame oil. Sorry if my portions aren't very helpful.

                    1. re: jbrcoll

                      As joonjoon says start with equal amounts of soy/sweet/acid, then taste and adjust.
                      In making Korean dipping sauces this is the method I use, and then generally add about 1/4 the amount of sesame oil.
                      An important note if you are not using the sauces immediately - Flavors blend and meld over time so you may want to let the sauce sit for fifteen to thirty minutes before making adjustments.

                  2. When I bought a dish from a Chinese restaurant that was sesame flavoured, I just loved it, but cannot get that flavour at home. Do I need to add more or less? At a certain time during stir frying? at the beginning? at the end? I bought sesame oil & used that, but couldn't taste it.
                    Any advice would be appreciated.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Gingerjelly

                      < I bought sesame oil & used that, but couldn't taste it.>

                      There are untoasted sesame oil vs toasted sesame oil, and different level of toasting. This may be why?

                      1. re: Gingerjelly

                        In a stir-fry dish, one generally adds the toasted sesame oil at the end of cooking after the heat has been turned off. Use to taste. A few drops for a single serving to start, until you get the taste you are looking for. I just drizzle it over the pan straight from the bottle. I store the bottle in the refrigerator, but let it sit on the counter while I am assembling things. It is ready for me when I am ready for it.

                      2. I use Kadoya toasted sesame oil in all stir frys, salad dressings, chili, marinades for poultry, anything I want a smoky, nutty, umami taste. I sometimes add a bit to regular cooking oil when frying/sauteeing. I also make a sauce, 1:1 toasted sesame to soy sauce, that I drizzle a bit of onto steaks just before serving. No salt or pepper, just the oil/sauce mixture. Very tasty. makes the steaks taste more beefier from the hit of umami. I buy a quart or half gallon tin once a year or so.