Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil, it is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisine.
Sesame oil from the nutrient rich seed is popular in alternative medicine – from traditional massages and treatments to the modern day.
Despite sesame oil’s high proportion (41%) of polyunsaturated (Omega-6) fatty acids, it is least prone, among cooking oils with high smoke points, to turn rancid when kept in the open. This is due to the natural antioxidants present in the oil.
Light sesame oil has a high smoke point and is suitable for deep-frying, while dark sesame oil (from roasted sesame seeds) has a slightly lower smoke point and is unsuitable for deep-frying. Instead it can be used for the stir frying of meats or vegetables, sautéing, or for the making of an omelette. East Asian cuisines often use roasted sesame oil for seasoning.
In industry, sesame oil may be used as
- a solvent in injected drugs or intravenous drip solutions,
- a cosmetics carrier oil,
- coating stored grains to prevent weevil attacks. The oil also has synergy with some insecticides.
Low grade oil is used locally in soaps, paints, lubricants, and illuminants.
Sesame oil is a source of vitamin E. Sesame oil also contains magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin B6.