Toasted Sesame Seeds (볶은깨)

01 Oct 2014 05:53 407
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Check out my step by step directions and photos on how to clean and toast sesame seeds.

Properly toasted sesame seeds are a very important ingredient in Korean cuisine. They add a wonderful, toasted nuttiness to many Korean dishes, and are particularly important in giving vegetarian dishes an extra dimension of flavor. Other cultures use sesame seeds in their cooking but to me, properly toasted sesame seeds are part of what make Korean food distinctly Korean. When Koreans refer to sesame seeds, the fact that they are toasted is understood by all - no Korean would even consider using raw or untoasted sesame seeds in any dish. We love toasted sesame seeds.

I take my toasted sesame seeds seriously! I always have some on hand. I toast a few cups at a time and store them in the freezer, and take some out little by little over the next few months until I have to toast some more. And when I travel, I always bring a little stash with me for cooking on the road or livening up a dish. I've also given toasted sesame seeds as gifts! For me, that's a great present!

When you buy sesame seeds to toast, get raw sesame seeds, called cham-kkae in Korean. If you can't find these, you can buy pre-roasted sesame seeds, called bokkeun-kkae or bokkeum-kkae in Korean in the store. Bokkeum or bokkeun means "toasted." If you buy toasted (or roasted) sesame seeds in the store, it's always a good idea to toast them again before using them to give them a boost of nutty flavor, because they might have been toasted a long time ago.

As you see, this recipe is very simple, but it's all in the technique. It's best to wash the seeds well, so toasting makes them plump, and take care of them so they don't burn.

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