Updated: November 07, 2018
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How Are Sesame Seeds Used in Japanese Cuisine?

How Are Sesame Seeds Used in Japanese Cuisine? Well in a rather impressive number of ways, here are all the ways to try them!

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Sesame Seeds in Japanese Cuisine

If you're like me, you probably never took the time to stop and think about sesame seeds and where they come from. So you'll probably be as surprised as I was to find out they grow in pods! Once the pods dry, they will start opening. The pods are then shaken to take out the seeds.

Sesame Oil ごま油

Sesame oil is often used in Japanese cuisine and a little goes a long way! You really don't need to use a lot for it to give a nice flavour. Sesame oil can be used in salad dressings or for frying food. Interestingly, white sesame seed oil has a higher smoke point, so it can be used for frying, whereas dark sesame oil cannot. Some high-end tempura restaurants use sesame oil to fry the tempura and give the food a deeper taste.

Gomashio ごま塩

Furikake is what is used as a topping for rice to give it a nice flavour and interesting texture. As rice is a staple in Japanese cuisine, furikake can give rice and interesting twist. Furikake can be made with a variety of ingredients, the most classic one being sesame and salt.

Sesame Paste 練り胡麻

Sesame paste is very similar to tahini which is often used in Mediterranean cuisine. Sesame paste can be used to drizzle vegetables, or as a dipping sauce for meat in shabu shabu.

Ice Cream

Sesame seed ice cream is a growingly popular trend in Japan. You can choose between white sesame and black sesame seed ice cream. And if you're as indecisive as I am, you can have both. To give the ice cream an even deeper taste, you can drizzle the ice cream with sesame oil. It's a surprisingly delightful mix!

Sesame crackers ごませんべい

Usually, these crackers are glazed in soy sauce, then sesame seeds are added, and finally, the crackers are either baked or grill. They're highly addictive and very delicious! Also, they're definitely on the healthy side compared to chips if you have a savoury craving!


There are many ways to enjoy sesame seeds in Japanese cuisine, hopefully, you will have the chance to try them all!
Lili Wanderlust
I love travelling and discovering new cuisines. Japan has a panoply of local dishes to try. I also love yoga, coffee, reading, and cycling.

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