Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sesame Oil: What Is It and How Do I Cook with It?

Sesame oil is sold in small bottles and is used mainly for flavoring.  Be careful if you use it for frying because it can burn easily. 

The oil is pressed from roasted sesame seeds and is usually a golden color, although I have seen a brown version.  It’s popular in Asian cooking.  Add a few drops of sesame oil just before you serve a stir-fry or tofu dish, and you will be surprised how much it improves the taste with its unique nutty flavor.

Super-Easy Fried Tofu – serves 2-3 as a main dish 
16 ounces (1 pound) extra-firm tofu 
2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil 
1 tablespoon chopped garlic 
1 cup water 
2 tablespoons rice vinegar 
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (more about hoisin sauce)
2 tablespoons soy sauce 
1 teaspoon sugar 
1 teaspoon sesame oil 
Cooked rice (optional) 
Optional: you could stir-fry some onions, bell peppers, snow peas and/or pieces of asparagus and add to the tofu just before serving. 
Drain the tofu and cut it into 1x2-inch pieces.  Set the pieces on a paper-towel lined plate for about 10 minutes to extract extra moisture. 
Add the oil to a large frying pan or wok and turn the heat to medium-high.  When the oil is hot, gently place the tofu pieces into the oil and fry for about 10 minutes, carefully turning the pieces over, until the tofu begins to brown in spots.  
Add the garlic and stir gently for 20 seconds.  Then add the water, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and sugar.  Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to medium.  Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the tofu has absorbed at least half of the liquid.  Add the sesame oil and cook for another minute.  Serve immediately, or set aside and reheat when needed.
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