Open sesame, you seeds of wonder!
Kristy Chow Ching-yee asks 'What sweet treats can I make using sesame seeds?'
Wynnie says: Sesame seeds are highly nutritious. They contain a variety of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed for health. The seeds are rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat which helps to lower 'bad', or LDL, cholesterol in the blood.
They also contain powerful antioxidants such as vitamin E, and substances called sesamol and sesaminol, which help to fight off harmful free radicals and prevent the growth and development of cancer cells in the body.
Sesame seeds are a good source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folate, thiamin, pyridoxine and riboflavin, which are needed for the production of energy and healthy blood cells.
The seeds are also a great source of calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium and copper. These have essential roles to play in healthy bones and red blood cells, enzyme and hormone production, and good heart and muscle activities.
Despite the benefits, these cookies are quite high in fat and calories, so should be eaten only occasionally.
Ingredients (Makes 24)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
1/2 cup brown muscovado sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup toasted white sesame seeds
1 Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
2 Mix in the egg until it's just blended.
3 In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder. Mix this into the butter, sugar and egg mixture until incorporated. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up.
4 Preheat the oven to 190C/170C (fan)/Gas Mark 4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
5 Place sesame seeds on a plate. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll teaspoons of the dough into small balls. Roll each ball into the sesame seeds, place 3cm apart on the baking tray and slightly flatten the top of each ball.
6 Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown. Leave them to cool on the baking tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Nutritional information per cookie: 101kcal, 421kJ, 1.5g protein, 5.5g fat, 12.2g carbohydrates. 0.5g fibre
Sesame coconut jelly (Serves 4-6)
This recipe uses sesame seed paste, which is readily available in most supermarkets. If you can't find any, use the recipe given to make your own paste; it's much more laborious, but well worth the effort.
150ml skimmed milk
150ml coconut milk
2 tbsp white or black sesame seed paste (recipe right)
2 tbsp caster sugar
5g gelatin powder dissolved in a little water
1 In a small bowl, combine a little milk with the sesame paste and mix well. Pour into a saucepan.
2 Add the remaining milk, coconut milk and sugar, and bring the pan gently to a boil. Take it off the heat.
3 Add in the gelatin and mix well.
4 Divide the jelly into individual serving bowls and chill in the refrigerator until set. Decorate with fruits of your choice.
Nutritional information per cookie: 97kcal, 407kJ, 3.5g protein, 6.0g fat, 7.7g carbohydrates. 0.8g fibre
Sesame seed paste (Makes 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
1 Grind the sesame seeds in a blender until smooth.
2 Slowly drizzle in the oil while blending, and continue until all of the oil has been added and the mixture is smooth.
3 Store in the fridge until ready to use.
Wynnie Chan is a British-trained nutritionist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org