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Sesame Oil Is Your Key Ingredient For Elevating Nearly Any Soup

Hand pouring oil into pot
Hand pouring oil into pot - Nungning20/Shutterstock

Almost everyone enjoys a delicious bowl of soup from time to time; however, it's easy to rely on the same tried-and-true recipes. If you've grown tired of making classic chicken noodle soup and want soups with unexpected flavors, consider adding sesame oil to your soup recipe repertoire. Not only does Healthline report that sesame oil is full of antioxidants and heart-healthy benefits, but this nutritious oil also has a distinct taste that can easily upgrade the flavor of almost any soup.

As you may have surmised, sesame oil is made from sesame seeds. This seed oil has a variety of uses and is popular in many Asian or Middle Eastern recipes. Sesame oil is available in two types: Regular and toasted. Regular sesame oil -- also known as just "sesame oil" -- is made from raw, untoasted sesame seeds. It's light in color with a neutral flavor, making it popular with chefs, as does its high smoke point of more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toasted, or dark, sesame oil, is made from toasted sesame seeds. Toasting the seeds before pressing them brings out the seeds' oils, resulting in an oil that is darker in color than regular sesame oil, with a more pronounced nutty flavor. Toasted sesame oil isn't usually used for cooking or frying because heating toasted sesame oil can cause the oil to taste bitter. With one variety of sesame oil considerably more robust than the other, how might these sesame oils affect your next pot of soup?

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Sesame Oil Enhances A Lot Of Soup-Friendly Ingredients

Rame soup in a bowl
Rame soup in a bowl - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

You might already be using raw or toasted sesame oil in your favorite Asian-inspired recipes such as ramen, or sesame peanut noodle bowls. Indeed, among the essential ingredients for many Asian meals, sesame oil is considered a must-have. However, foods with an Asian flair aren't the dishes that can benefit from a healthy dose of sesame oil. Many soups come alive when invigorated with the bright, nutty oil, whether you use regular sesame oil in the cooking process or drizzle toasted sesame oil over your finished bowls just before serving.

Regular sesame oil has a high smoke point and a nuanced flavor, making it ideal for sauteeing your soup vegetables and aromatics before they're added to your broth. Even though refined sesame oil is lighter in color and flavor, it still tastes like sesame seeds. If you want your soup to have an even balance of flavor, you may want to use a combination of refined sesame oil and your usual go-to oil when cooking down the veggies and aromatics.

Dark, toasted sesame oil is a great ingredient to use when your soup needs a special finishing touch. Drizzle this robust oil over your favorite soup to add intensity and flavor. When choosing soup-specific ingredients, toasted sesame oil can be used to elevate the flavors of sweeter root vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash and also pairs well with dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and asparagus, and with most meats.

Alternative Oils And Uses

Various oils in spoons and bowls
Various oils in spoons and bowls - stockcreations/Shutterstock

Whether you're on the fence about trying sesame oil or are simply curious about possible substitutes, you have more than one option to consider for enhancing the flavor of soup. The most popular substitution for sesame oil in terms of direct cooking is olive oil. Other potential alternatives are grapeseed oil and avocado oil.

Conversely, if you're looking for an oil substitution that carries a lot of flavor and can be used as a delicious finishing touch, consider mixing tahini or sesame seed paste with a neutral oil. Other potential oils that have stronger flavor profiles and work perfectly as last-minute additions are walnut oil and roasted peanut oil. If you're open to new textures, you can also toast sesame seeds and add them directly to your soup.   

If the ultimate goal is to give your favorite soup recipes an impactful flavor upgrade with little effort, toasted sesame oil may be your best option. A drizzle of toasted sesame oil can enliven even the most mundane soup recipes with a smooth, subtle, earthy nuttiness. If you're looking for a well-rounded, more mildly flavored oil used to cook up aromatics or elevate your easy egg drop soup recipe, choose raw and refined sesame oil.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.