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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Homemade Toasted Sesame Flavored Oil Recipe- Frugal and Easy Hack


It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Asian food, specifically Korean food. I am able to combine a variety of frugal and super frugal ingredients, whatever I have on hand, either foraged or purchased from the reduced rack, and create gorgeous and delicious healthy dishes with them. However, there is one ingredient that is required in a lot of Korean dishes that is not quite so cheap- toasted sesame oil, but a little bit packs a big punch, so I am willing to splurge on that.
However, even if there's something that I'm willing to splurge on, if I can get the equivalent for far cheaper, then why not, as long as I'm not compromising on taste (at least not too much).

My friend Charmane told me a few years ago that she makes an imitation toasted sesame oil to use to give flavor to dishes. It's not sesame free, so it's not a good alternative for people with sesame allergies. However, what she does is toast sesame seeds and use them to infuse bland oils with that toasted sesame flavor. While Charmane doesn't do it specifically for money saving purposes, but just in a pinch if she doesn't have a chance to go out and buy toasted sesame oil. If you live in a place that toasted sesame oil is hard to come by, it also is a great solution.
I decided to give it a try and see how it works. While I was at it, I wanted to compare- does it really save money, and if so, how much?


Locally, at one of the cheaper grocery stores, toasted sesame oil costs $5.25 for a small bottle that is 300 milliliters, or 1 1/4 cups.
I used sunflower oil to make my toasted sesame flavored oil. I could have done it more cheaply, so I've included the price breakdown for when it is made with sunflower oil, and for when it is made with the cheaper canola oil.

I used 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil for my recipe that yielded 1 3/4 cups of the final product. Based on the price I pay locally for a bottle of sunflower oil, I paid $1.50 for the sunflower oil in this recipe. I also paid 88 cents for the sesame seeds for this. Total for this recipe therefore was $2.38 for 1 3/4 cups, working out to be $1.75 for the equivalent 300 milliliters, or 1/3 the cost of store bought toasted sesame oil.

For those looking to be as cheap as possible and are happy to use cheaper canola or soy oil (sold at the same lower price locally), the oil would cost 98 cents, $1.37 for the entire recipe, or nearly 1/4 of the price of real toasted sesame oil.

So from a frugal perspective, at least with our local prices, it is definitely worthwhile to make this at home.
The taste is pretty good- its not 100% as strong as the original, but if you don't mind increasing the price, you can skip the last step, the "thirds" (as written below) to get a more concentrated sesame flavor.

Here's how to do it.

Homemade Toasted Sesame Flavored Oil Recipe- Frugal and Easy Hack

Ingredients:
1 cup sesame seeds, roughly ground
2 1/4 cups sunflower oil, canola oil, or soy oil

Instructions:
1. Put sesame seeds into a coffee grinder and run for a few seconds, so the sesame seeds are a little broken.

2. Put the sesame seeds in a wide pan, and toast them until they start to brown.

3. Mix well with 1 cup of sunflower, canola, or soy oil, and let it sit for 12 hours.

4. Strain through a cheese cloth and press well, removing as much oil as you can. Reserve the oil.

5. Remove the sesame seeds from the cheesecloth, and put in a food processor with 1/2 cup of oil. Blend up for about 3 minutes, and then repeat step 4.

6. Repeat step 5 once more, with either 1/2 or 3/4 cup of additional oil.

7. Use the oil in any recipe that calls for toasted sesame oil. This does not need to be stored in the fridge.

8. You can add the blended toasted sesame seeds to a variety of recipes to add a nice toasted sesame flavor. They work especially well in stir fry and sesame green beans.

Are you a fan of toasted sesame oil? How much does it cost where you live? What recipes do you use it in?
Have you ever made homemade toasted sesame flavored oil or some other sesame oil hack? How do you do it? Does this look like something you'd try?

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