There are two very different kinds of sesame oil. The first, used as a flavouring in food throughout most of the Far East, is toasted sesame oil, which has a rich brown colour and an intense sesame aroma. A few drops can make an amazing difference to a stir fry, a salad or a porridge. Always add at the end of cooking to avoid wastage.

The other kind of sesame oil is thin and pale yellow in colour with only a slight nutty taste, much like sunflower oil. It has a high smoke point, making it particularly suitable for frying things at high temperatures. It is also used as a massage oil.

According to sesame oil is a potent antioxidant as well as being an antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory which promotes 'good' HDL cholesterol, lowers levels of 'bad' LDL cholesterol and cures acne and dry skin conditions alike. I cannot vouch for any of these claims; one of the confusing things about the internet is that it is now possible to find pages of scientific-sounding claims for the miraculous properties of almost any substance. Please draw your own conclusions.

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