What’s Cooking? Sesame Seeds!
They might look like grains of sand, but sesame seeds are deceptively good for us. One of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, their oil has been prized for over 5,000 years and rightly so. Sesame has often been regarded as a medical plant and more recent research into the nutritional properties of these seeds supports the fact they are just as at home in a medical cabinet as a kitchen cupboard.
Sesame seeds are a particularly good source of manganese and copper. Copper has number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzymes so can help with the pain related to arthritis. Magnesium has been shown to lower high blood pressure and help reduce the spasms which cause pain and discomfort during asthma and migraine attacks.
They are great for bone health too as sesame contains calcium and zinc which together prevent bone loss and increase density. Other minerals found in significant amounts in sesame seeds include iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and fibre.
Sesame seeds also have the highest phytosterols content of any nut or seed. These are are compounds found in plants which have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol. When present in sufficient amounts they can reduce blood levels of cholesterol, boost the immune system and decrease the risk of certain cancers.
Although they are thought to have first been cultivated in Asia, the flavour of sesame is often associated with the Middle East and is commonly added to dishes through tahini. You may have used this paste when making hummus but it’s fantastic for plenty of other recipes – including Lisa’s delicious Baba Ganoush.
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 40 - 50 mins
- 3 medium-sized aubergines
- 4 tbsp. tahini (sesame paste)
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pureed
- large handful of chopped coriander or parsley
- 1 tbsp. date syrup
- 30g toasted pine nuts
- drizzle olive oil
- Preheat the oven to grill setting, alternatively you can roast on open flame
- Prick each eggplant a few times, all over then place on a baking tray
- Cook on each side for 10-12 minutes to char the outside of the aubergine
- Turn after every 10-12 minutest until the aubergine are uniformly-charred on the outside and until they’re completely soft inside
- You should be able to easily poke a paring knife into them and meet no resistance
- Remove from oven and let cool
- Split the aubergine and scrape out the pulp
- Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor with the other ingredients until smooth
- Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary
- Serve drizzle with olive oil, date syrup and toasted pine nuts
Lisa tip Baba Ganoush can be made and refrigerated for up to five days prior to serving. Serve with some toasted pita chips, and left over cold meats! Lamb is my absolute favorite to go along side this wonderful dip. Baba-Ganoush is an Arabic dip similar to hummus. It differs in that it uses aubergines instead of chickpeas and makes it a great alternative to hummus. The basic ingredients used in traditional hummus are the same: lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, cumin and tahini. You can play with ingredients and add diced onions, tomatoes and olives to vary the recipe. You can also add chili powder for extra spiciness.
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