Black Magic : Cooking with Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds
Source: NDTV Food

Tiny, black shaped hearts that can create magic to your cooking – the black sesame seeds. These are one of the oldest oil seeds known to mankind and was said to be cultivated more than 3000 years ago. There are two varieties of this oil seed crop – the wild and native which grows in Saharan Africa and the cultivated variety which originated in India. Sesame seeds grows within “pods” and pop open when ripened…this probably is the base of the “Open Sesame” phrase used to magically open the caves in the fable of “Ali Baba and the Forty thieves

These black coloured seeds are widely used in cuisines all over the world either whole, crushed or powdered. A sprinkling of these seeds can change the taste and texture of any food like the humble potato or lentils into something magical and exotic…

Black Lentils with Sesame seeds – Daieneiiong


Black dal (lentils) – 2 cups
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece, ground
Garlic – 4 pods, ground
Sesame seeds (black) – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Mustard Oil – to taste 


Mix the lentils with water. Boil till cooked and tender. Heat a frying pan, roast the sesame seeds for 1-2 minutes, Let it cool. Now grind the cooled seeds with a little water to a coarse paste. Mix this paste with the ground ginger garlic, mustard oil and salt. Add to the cooked lentils and simmer for five minutes.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

Pork with Black Sesame – Dohneiiong


Pork Belly – 500 gms
Black sesame seeds – 100 gms (Roasted and powdered)
Onion – 1 sliced
Fresh ginger garlic paste – 1/2 tblsp
Green chillies – 3, chopped
Red chilli paste – 1 tblsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tblsp
Mustard oil – to taste 
Salt – to taste 


Boil the pork belly and cut into cubes.In a thick bottomed pot heat the mustard oil till it smokes. Reduce the heat and fry the sliced onions. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the pork cubes, chillies and the chilli paste. Stir and mix well. Add the salt and turmeric powder. Saute on a medium flame and let the pork cook for 15 – 20 minutes.

Mix the sesame powder with some water and pour this into the pork. Cover and let it cook for another 5 minutes till the water dries up and pork oil is released.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

Like some wine to accompany your food? Check out these alcoholic delghts from Bhutan

Potatoes with Black Sesame Seeds – Dohneeihong


Potatoes- 5, diced
Black Sesame Seeds – 3 tblsp, roasted and grounded to a paste
Ginger – 1 tsp, grated
Garlic – 1 tsp, crushed
Salt – to taste 
Green Chillies – 4, slit
Lemon juice – 1/2 a lemon
Mustard Oil – 3 tblsp

Method : 

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the diced potatoes and fry till they are brown. Add the ginger and garlic, keep frying for a few minutes more. Then add the sesame paste, green chillies and salt. Cover and let the potatoes cook. Once done, add the chopped coriander and lemon juice. 

Serve as a side dish with any meal.

P.S : All the above recipes are from the tiny northeastern state of Meghalaya. The Khasi tribe are basically rice eaters and all the three dishes are served with steamed rice at any time of the day – breakfast, lunch and dinner!