Give sesame a starring role with dukka and pull-apart pinwheels

Dukkah. (Courtesy of Thestonesoup.com)

Dukkah. (Courtesy of Thestonesoup.com)

ELIZABETH BAIRD, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:22 PM ET

We hardly give a glance at the sesame seeds that top our burger buns, or stud the bagels we slather with cream cheese. So ordinary, but with a great lineage, largely unknown. Sesame was the earliest oil-yielding plant in cultivation, and the first reference to sprinkling sesame seeds on bread occurred two thousand years ago in Sicily.

Sesame continues to play a big part in the culinary world, with toasted dark sesame oil delivering its nutty taste to Asian food, black sesame seeds in sushi, ground sesame paste, tahini, in Middle Eastern cuisines, and sesame, or benni, now benniseed, from its West African name, in the American south. Sesame opens doors to delicious flavours from around the world. Sample some below, with pleasure.

Dukkah

Famed author and food writer Claudia Roden popularized this beloved Egyptian specialty where the blend of toasted sesame seeds, spices and hazelnuts is served at breakfast. Dukkah is a delightful sprinkle over salads, grilled fish, and a bowl of soup, especially thick ones. For a party appy, serve slices of baguette to dip first in good olive oil, then Dukkah.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) sesame seeds
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) sea or kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) pepper

Directions:

Spread sesame seeds and coriander seeds on small rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant, about 7 minutes in 350F. (180C.) oven; stir in cumin. Toast for 2 minutes. Dump into food processor. Meanwhile, spread hazelnuts on small rimmed baking sheet or pan. Toast until skins split and nuts are golden, about 10 minutes. If desired, rub off skins using clean kitchen towel. Add to seed mixture along with the salt and pepper. Pulse until finely crushed but still dry,not ground smooth. Transfer to sealed jars and store in refrigerator for up to several seeks.

Makes 2 cups (500 ml).

Sesame Pull-Apart Pinwheels

A switch-over - sesame seeds no longer on top, but rolled and sliced in a totally reliable and easy savoury bun. Perfect to go with hearty stews, soups and chili. And dandy with scrambled eggs for brunch.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) each salt and baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) baking soda
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) cold butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk at room temperature

Sesame Filling:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) white or black sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) finely sliced chives of minced green onion
  • Grease 9-inch (2.5 L) metal cake pan; set aside.

Directions:

In liquid measuring cup, stir sugar into water; stir in yeast. Let stand until bubbling, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and soda. With pastry blender or finger tips, work in butter until mixture is crumbly. Whisk yeast mixture and buttermilk to combine. Pour over dry ingredients; stir to combine.

Scrape dough onto floured counter; knead until mixture holds together, about 3 minutes. Form into thick rectangular shape, cover with bowl and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll into rectangle 15- x 9-inch (38 x 23 cm).

Sesame Filling: Brush dough with butter, reserving about 2 tsp. (10 ml) and leaving 1/2 inch (2 cm) border along one long side. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and chives. Roll up dough towards uncovered border. Pinch seam to seal. Cut crosswise into 12 slices. Arrange in prepared pan; brush top with remaining butter. Cover and let rise until rolls meet to fill the pan and are doubled in volume, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Bake in centre of 375F. (190C.) oven until golden brown and fragrant, about 20 to 25 minutes. Turn out onto rack. Serve warm and the most alluring to bread aficionados.

Makes 12 rolls.

We hardly give a glance at the sesame seeds that top our burger buns, or stud the bagels we slather with cream cheese. So ordinary, but with a great lineage, largely unknown. Sesame was the earliest oil-yielding plant in cultivation, and the first reference to sprinkling sesame seeds on bread occurred two thousand years ago in Sicily.

Sesame continues to play a big part in the culinary world, with toasted dark sesame oil delivering its nutty taste to Asian food, black sesame seeds in sushi, ground sesame paste, tahini, in Middle Eastern cuisines, and sesame, or benni, now benniseed, from its West African name, in the American south. Sesame opens doors to delicious flavours from around the world.

Did You Know?

Sesame seeds can be white, yellow, brown or black, according to variety. White is most commonly found in Canada, but black is available in bulk, health and Asian outlets.

How to Toast Sesame Seeds: They have a nutty flavour, enhanced by toasting. To do so, set a dry skillet over medium heat, pour in the seeds – a shallow layer is best, and stirring with your full attention, heat until fragrant and light brown. To stop the seeds from continuing to cook and possibly burn, immediately spread out on a plate to cool.

Shichimi Togarashi: New to me, but this Japanese seasoning is traditional. Now available in the upscale new black label product from Loblaws, it’s an aromatic blend of red chili, both white and black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, orange zest and nori, to name most of the ingredients. A sprinkle over grilled asparagus, noodle and rice dishes and soups will spark you taste buds. Be frugal the first few sprinkles. The red chili bites.

 


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