Is sesame oil a cooking oil, or more of a condiment? It depends on the sesame oil, and it also depends on the cuisine, say Chowhounds. Toasted sesame oil, which is darker in color and richer in flavor, generally is used as a condiment, says violabratsche. But it should be used sparingly, says karykat, because its strong flavor may overwhelm a dish.

Light-colored sesame oil, often blended with other, less expensive oils, may sometimes be used as a cooking oil, says hannaone. Some feel that the delicate flavor of sesame oil is destroyed by the heat of stir-frying, but boogiebaby notes that sesame oil may be used for frying things like marinated chicken in Malaysian cuisine, with excellent results. “The oil gives the chicken an amazing flavor,” says boogiebaby. It’s also used as a cooking oil in South India, says MikeG, where toasted sesame seed oil is not seen much at all.

stellamystar likes to cook with sesame oil. A stir-fry of cabbage, ground pork, onion, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil is “like eating the inside of a dumpling,” says stellamystar.

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