What is Sesame Oil (Chamgireum) ?
Sesame oil is an amber-colored oil that's used both as a cooking oil and finishing oil. Sesame seeds (kkae 깨) are first slow roasted then are pressed to make oil. Some sesame oil is made without roasting, almost all Korean sesame oils are roasted in pretty high heat before they are ground and pressed which maximizes the flavor.
Korean Sesame oil is very rich and aromatic so only a small amount is needed. It also has a high smoke point (410℉) so you can use it for sautes, stir-fries and more. To obtain maximum flavor, add a drizzle of sesame oil at the end - much like you drizzle olive oil to finish a dish.
Not To Be Confused With
Perilla Oil (Deulgireum 들기름) made from roasted perilla seeds.
Where and What To Buy
BUY Jin Sesame Oil at my KIMCHIMARI SHOP
Korean or Asian grocery stores and
Best - Jin Sesame Oil (produced in LA) 진참기름, Ottogi Premium Roasted Sesame Oil 오뚜기 고소한 참기름. Make sure you get 'premium'. The regular and the traditional style (옛날) is not as flavorful and armoatic.
Good - Chungjeongone Premium Sesame Oil 청정원 참기름
I have a separate post where I compared the taste of all the above 7 brands. And my order of preference is from left to right with the top 1 and 2 being almost equal.
Try to buy sesame oil that has a wonderfully smooth taste, a very rich nutty flavor and a slight smokiness. Overly roasted sesame seed oil will have a bitter flavor. Colors will be usually darker the more it was roasted.
How to Use/Cook
Use sesame oil much like Olive Oil. You can use the less expensive, less fragrant ones for sauteeing and cooking. Use the more expensive and fragrant ones as a finishing ingredient - drizzle on bibimbap, muchim, namul and other dishes for most fragrant aroma. The fragrance does get diminished when cooked so drizzle after the heat is turned off.
How to Clean/Store
Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Can be refrigerated but it is not necessary.
How To Grow
You can grow sesame plants quite easily from seeds. Harvest seeds by drying stalks then shaking them off to get the seeds.
- high in antioxidants (sesamol and sesaminol)
- high in linolic acid which prevents the formation of cholesterol, a cause of arterioscelorisis/heart diseases
- MAY help control blood sugar - help treat arthritis and heal wounds and burns