It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to email@example.com and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
I've found great recipes that I want to try out but they contain sesame seeds and they don't sell sesame seeds here in Panama. Can you substitute sesame seeds with sesame oil? If so, how much oil for seeds?
This very much depends on the recipes. Sesame seeds are generally added to recipes for both flavor and texture. Sesame oil won't add quite the same flavor or texture. For instance, adding sesame oil to breads that call for sesame seeds might change the flavor and texture dramatically. A fish dish that calls for sesame seeds might work great with sesame oil, however.
Note that there is sesame oil and dark sesame oil. The latter is made from seeds that have been toasted and has a much more intense, nutty flavor. The difference could greatly affect the taste of your recipe.
You would use about 2 teaspoons of sesame oil to replace 1 1/2 Tablespoons of sesame seeds.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP