Gomasio is one flavor powerhouse. Used as a replacement for salt on whole grains (it's very good on rice), soups, stews, and vegetables, it's a delicious way to reduce sodium while adding a little calcium, magnesium, iron, protein, and fiber.
Note: The photo above is a juxtaposition of my raw, unhulled, unroasted seeds on the left, and my toasted, ground seeds on the right.
Gomasio is made by grinding dry-roasted sesame seeds with salt. You can purchase it prepared, but it's easy to make, and the fresh-roasted sesame seed taste isn't something you're likely to find in a jar that has been sitting on a grocery store shelf for god knows how long.
The seeds are about 50% oil by weight, almost half of that is the rancid-vulnerable polyunsaturated type. Luckily, as Harold McGee writes in his book On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen:
"[Sesame seed oil] is remarkable for its resistance to oxidation and rancidity, which results from high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds (lignans), some vitamin E, and products of the browning reactions that occur during the more thorough roasting."From what I can tell, sesame seeds aren't chock full of vitamin E, not like an almond. Maybe there's enough there to supply a little seed's needs, if not the needs of a 100 kg human male. One nutrient they are chock full of is calcium - 60 mg in just 2 teaspoons!
1/4 cup raw, unhulled sesame seeds
1 tsp. table salt
1 Place seeds (any color - black, brown, red, yellow, tan, ivory, etc.) in a clean, dry, frying pan and toast on low heat, stirring often, until golden or until they start to pop - try to pull them off the heat before popping takes place.
Note: I used the lowest setting on my gas hob. My seeds toasted in 20 minutes. Many recipes claim they'll toast in 5 minutes, but I suspect they're using higher heat. The longer, lower-temp toasting will result in more even heat distribution, more even browning, and a more potent roasted flavor (since more seeds will have undergone browning reactions).
2 Allow the seeds to cool for about 10 minutes, then place in a small electric grinder with the salt and pulse a few times until most of the seeds are cracked open. Be careful not to grind to a flour consistency; you want some of the texture of the seed to remain.
Note: Change any quantities you like. The typical ratio is 8 parts sesame seeds to 1 part salt, but you can use less or even no salt if you prefer.
The technique for making gomasio shown above is convenient and time-saving. The traditional method (learned from my Macrobiotic days) involves toasting the salt, preferably a fine grain sea salt, until it shines; letting the salt cool; then grinding it by hand with a Janapese mortar and pestle (suribachi). The seeds are roasted in the same manner as above, but then ground in the mortar with the salt until most of the seeds have cracked open.