Good morning and welcome…It was a lovely sunny one earlier and now it has clouded over…Are we in for some rain? It is rainy season but we have had a few days of sunny shine and no rain…My weather report tells me 50% chance of precipitation today with scattered thunderstorms…. the temp is hovering around 30C and set to rise a little today…No rain yet…
Today I am taking you on another trip down the farm…
The Sesame plant or Ngaa as it is known here is another plant which has popped up…I am loving it as I am constantly being surprised at what plants and fruits are appearing Down on the Farm...It makes it easier for the future I will know and can plan a little it will also help as I will know what and where so we can transplant and not build and destroy.
It is a beautiful and quite delicate looking plant with pretty white flowers.
Of course, I now wanted to know what uses this plant had if any apart from producing seeds which are used mainly in desserts in Thailand. Here on the farm they are dried and used for just that really and to make the lovely sesame biscuits which we love…
The oil from the seeds is not really used in Thai cuisine like it is in Chinese cookery.
The sesame seed is one of the most ancient seeds on earth there have been remains of Sesame seeds found and dated as far back as 3500BC. It was also widely traded in parts of Mesopotamia and the Indian subcontinent around 2000BC. Always highly valued in Eastern, African and Mediterranean culture it has been used for thousands of years in cooking to flavour foods. Sesame oil has one of the highest oil contents of any seed and a rich nutty flavour. Across the continent’s world-wide sesame oil, tahini and the seeds are widely used.
It is a good source of vitamins and minerals that boost nutrient absorption, it is beneficial to human metabolism and the bodies fat-burning ability.
Sesame oil is a strong antihypertensive and can also help normalize blood pressure levels.
Sesame butter or Tahini is a pretty calorific dense food with 89 calories plus 8 gm of fat per tablespoon BUT the majority of that fat comes from healthy unsaturated fat like Omega 3 oils which help lower inflammation thus lower the risk of heart attacks. However, as always I advise moderation.
How to make your very own Tahini paste/butter..it is so quick and easy and the cost of a packet of sesame seeds is virtually pennies against the cost of a store-bought jar of tahini and no nasties…
Into the kitchen, for a quick toasting of the Sesame Seeds, then into the mini blender, 3 tbsp Olive oil, and a quick whizz, scrape down the sides, another tbsp Olive oil and another scrape, a bit more oil and a quick whizz and viola your Tahini Paste is now made.
How easy is that?
I have been making tahini for a couple of years…I think I need an updated image as my first batch was back in 2015…
Sesame seeds come in white or black, the white seeds having the highest iron content thus are used in food or as oil.
Black seeds are stronger, more flavorful and have 60% more calcium than white seeds and are used in medicines.
There has been some exciting news on a breakthrough in the research conducted at the Thailand Excellence Center for Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells at the Chiang Mai University where it was discovered that “Sesamin” extracted from black sesame seeds contains properties that hinder cancer cell growth as well as stimulate antibodies in the human body to fight cancer.
Dr Prachya stated that patents for the medical breakthrough have been filed and received for the research both in Thailand and internationally.
This is great news.
As I have said before I am always being amazed by the extraordinary benefits that so many plants and seeds are being proved to provide… so much better in many cases than prescribed medicines and supplements although if you are already on prescribed medicines PLEASE speak to your doctor and discuss what alternatives you are looking at taking and remember with plants and seeds …No one size fits all…. All of our bodies are different and react differently…..But ask! Talk to your doctor, do your own research from reputable research bodies.
Called Man Saeng this potato-like root is only found in the jungle surrounding the farm and not sold commercially…..If someone has been foraging in the jungle you may find a few being sold very locally on a market.
Thai Potatoes called Man Saeng
Man Saeng is not only native to Thailand but neighbouring Burma, Cambodia and Laos.
Here in the North they are often found growing by the river and the vines often attach themselves to a tree and then what I call the runners have the tubers which are light brownish and slightly hairy.
It can be added to soup or fried like the fried bananas in a batter or breadcrumbed and my son who had them boiled for his supper last night said that they tasted a little like our new potatoes and he really liked them. They can also be steamed or ground into a flour to make desserts.
They are quite fibrous and if overcooked have a sticky texture… somewhat glutinous.
This video shows them being harvested from the jungle and also where a few are being grown for the farmer’s own consumption. To me, that soil looks pretty hard and for a few tubers that is hard work…
This week we also harvested a few nuts which are now ready to eat..my nutcrackers do not work as in cracking them..my son’s partners uses a knife..mmmm…I think I will leave that to her or I will end up minus some digits…That’s for sure…
They taste a little like a cross between a brazil nut and macadamia nuts again I will shell them all and use them in my cooking..well I won’t..lol..That shell is impervious to my nutcrackers…
These nuts are from the Irvingia Malayana, which has the marvellously fanciful English title of the Barking Deer’s Mango. According to The University of Melbourne, it also has the much more prosaic Khmer name of Cham Mo. There’s a similar tree (Irvingia gabonensis) distributed about Western tropical Africa, whose nuts are used fairly extensively as a soup thickener and bread ingredient.
The name Barking deer’s mango is a strange name I can only surmise that it originated from the Indian Muntjac also named barking deer as it was often hunted around the outskirts of agricultural areas as they are considered a nuisance for damaging crops and ripping bark from trees.
This wild evergreen tree can grow as tall as 50 metres high the wood which is of low quality is used for general construction or fuel but is also very sought after and popular here for making charcoal.
The seeds of the tree are a source of a non-drying oil called cay-cay fat which is used in the manufacture of candles and soap making.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s little trip around the farm…there are always lots of surprises to be found and also things for me to learn..my knowledge has increased tenfold since I have lived always something to learn…xxx
About Carol Taylor:
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.
The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in…These honeybees dining on forget me knots say it all to me…
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe…A social media site which is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on MeWe
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:
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Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead xx