Sesame oil, cold pressed as light cooking oil, hot pressed for a darker and stronger flavor.
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Sesame oil (also known as gingelly oil and til oil) is an organic oil derived from sesames, noted to have the distinctive aroma and taste of its parent seed. It is often used in Southeast Asian cuisine as a flavor enhancer, e.g. adding it to instant noodles. Sesame oil is composed of the following fatty acids:
Asian sesame oil derives its dark colour and flavour from toasted hulled sesame seeds. It is commonly used in Chinese and Korean cuisine, usually added at the end of cooking as a flavour highlight and not used as a cooking medium (as is, for example, peanut oil). There are many variations in the colour of sesame oil: cold-pressed sesame oil is almost colourless, while Indian sesame oil (gingelly or til oil) is golden and Chinese sesame oil is commonly a dark brown colour.
Cold pressed sesame oil has less flavour than the Chinese, since it is produced directly from raw, rather than toasted seeds.
Sesame oil is traded in any of the forms described above: Refined sesame oil is very common in Europe and the USA; most margarine is made therefrom. Cold-pressed sesame oil is available in Western health shops. In most Asian countries, different kinds of hot-pressed sesame oil are preferred.
Sesame seeds were one of the first crops processed for oil as well as one of the earliest condiments. The addition of sesame seeds to baked goods can be traced back to ancient Egyptian times from an ancient tomb painting that depicts a baker adding the seeds to bread dough.
Prior to 600 BC, the Assyrians used sesame oil as a food, salve, and medication, primarily by the rich, as the difficulty of obtaining it made it expensive. Hindus use til oil in votive lamps, and consider the oil sacred. According to Hindu belief, lighting lamp filled with til oil in front of Lord Hanuman removes obstacles and difficulties in life.
In the Tamil language of India, Sesame Oil is called "Nalla Ennai"(நல்லெண்ணெய்), which literal translation in English is "good oil". In fact, the word ennai that means oil in Tamil has its roots in the Tamil words eL(எள்ளு) and nei(னெய்), which mean sesame and fat. It is also called as Gingelly Oil.
In the Telugu language of India, Sesame Oil is called "Nuvvula Nooni". Sesame is called "Nuvvulu".