Last Updated on July 25, 2022
Irigoma (Toasted Sesame Seeds) is an aromatic & versatile condiment that I use in my kitchen everyday! It’s very quick & easy to do at home yet it tastes 100% better than anything you can buy from stores. No special equipment is needed! I cannot imagine what my food would taste like without my homemade Irigoma, Toasted Sesame Seeds!
Irigoma [炒り胡麻] is a Japanese word for “toasted (roasted) sesame seeds.” To break it down, Iri [炒り] means “toasted” + Goma [胡麻 or ごま] means “sesame seeds.”
Many Japanese dishes as well as Korean and Chinese cuisines often use toasted sesame seeds. It’s very aromatic (nutty) which is great for using as an accent or condiment for Asian dishes from rice, noodles, veggies, tofu and more!
Irigoma is one of the staples in my kitchen and most used condiment for my dishes. In fact, I have lots of recipes that call for toasted sesame seeds and I repeatedly talk about how great toasted sesame seeds are. You may not think about doing this but to me this is definitely a life changer (no exaggeration) when I discovered the difference in flavor!
Which Sesame Seeds to Use
To make toasted sesame seeds, using raw hulled white sesame seeds would be the best.
They’re widely available, inexpensive even for organic option, and easier on digestion. From the cooking stand point of view, hulled white sesame seeds releases just enough oil when you toast in a pan which gives the “toasted sesame seeds aroma” that we look for.
That said, you could use unhulled sesame seeds (white or black) but the result will not be the same as what we’d expect from using hulled white sesame seeds.
Homemade is 100 % Better!
The Aroma and Taste
I’ve been making homemade toasted sesame seeds for many years and I still can’t believe how a simple step, which is toasting, can bring out so much aroma and flavor. It’s almost as if once the seeds are toasted they come back to life!
When you make your own, soon your kitchen will be filled with the toasty aroma. I truly love the smell of it! Once you taste it, you’ll know exactly why I do this.
Making your homemade irigoma (toasted sesame seeds) makes sense not only for the taste but also for the cost as well.
It’s so much cheaper to buy organic sesame seeds in bulk and make your own toasted sesame seeds at home. I used to pay $3.50 for a 3.0 oz (100 g) jar of toasted sesame seeds. Here is the math I did.
[Price of the jar of organic toasted sesame seeds] *as of 2021
$3.50 = 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
[Price of buying organic raw hulled sesame seeds] *as of 2021
$5.00 = 1 pound (454 grams)
So if I were to to buy the store bought one to get the same amount of buying bulk sesame seeds, I would have to spend about $17.50 (OMG)!
Of course, if depends on the availability of bulk option where you live. But for me, it makes total sense to make my own at home for every reason I can think of. Even with the added cost of time and electricity to cook, it’s still cost effective.
So Easy (and Fast) to Make!
You won’t believe how easy it is to make toasted sesame seeds.
- Buy some raw hulled white sesame seeds.
- Dry toast (roast) in a frying pan.
- Use right away or wait to cool down then store in a jar.
Yes, that’s all.
Ways to Use Irigoma (Toasted Sesame Seeds)
Irigoma (Toasted Sesame Sees) is very versatile where I consider as a multipurpose ingredient! Here are some examples of what I sprinkle on:
- Rice (plain or fried rice)
- Noodles (hot or cold)
- Veggies (raw or cooked)
- Tofu (raw or cooked)
Toasted sesame seeds are not just for sprinkling as a topping. You can also grind toasted sesame seeds to make “surigoma” and blend with vegan mentsuyu, water and oil to use as a dressing or marinade to quickly pickle veggies. Surigoma is also a good way to dress raw or cooked veggies, the Japanese way!
Batch Making or Not?
Since I use it very often, I make 2 US cups (280 g) at a time. If you don’t use it often, you can go with a smaller amount. Good news is that you can make as much or as little as you need.
Of course, you could toast sesame seeds every time you need them which makes it taste even better and fresher. But for the convenience, it’s much more efficient to batch make the amount that suits your needs according the frequency of using toasted sesame seeds.
So, make whatever the amount that makes sense to you. If you aren’t sure, I’d start with 1 cup for 1-2 people household.
Be sure to check out the “Step-by-Step Instructions (w/ Photos)” after the Printable Recipe!
Irigoma (Toasted Sesame Seeds)
- 1 cup raw hulled white sesame seeds
- Place sesame seeds in a prep bowl. Visually check them to see if there are some unwanted bits & pieces in there. It’s typically clean and ready to use but check just in case.
- Place the sesame seeds in a frying pan. Turn the heat at medium and dry roast (toast) sesame seeds.Tips: Keep stirring/rotating throughout the cooking process. Also, be sure the pan doesn’t get too hot so you can avoid burning sesame seeds. Adjust the heat as needed.
- Around 8-10 minutes in, the sesame seeds will slowly start releasing some toasty aroma.
- Around 13-15 minutes in, the color will turn lightly brown. They will also become glossy from releasing the natural oil. You may hear some light popping sound at this point.
- Around 18-20 minutes in, they will turn golden brown and become more aromatic. At this point, remove from the heat.
- Transfer to a shallow plate or a small baking sheet and let it cool down completely. This will take about 20-30 minutes.
- Once the sesame seeds are cooled down completely, transfer to a condiment shaker or an airtight container. Keep refrigerated.
Choice of Sesame Seeds
- Raw hulled white sesame seeds would be the best for making versatile toasted sesame seeds.
- Unhulled white sesame seeds or unhulled black sesame seeds may be used but the result will be different.
- Be sure to keep your eye on the sesame seeds when toasting.
- You want to toast them just enough to have a golden-brown color with the right aroma (not too strong.)
- When the pan is overheated, they will burn too quick and start releasing too much oil. Having the extra oil can make the toasted sesame seeds go bad quicker and taste rancid after a while.
- Burnt sesame seeds taste bitter and not good.
How Much to Make
- You can make a smaller or larger quantity as you like.
- I typically make 2 cups / 280 g at a time since I use them a lot.
How to Store
- For convenience, store toasted sesame seeds in a condiment shaker. Otherwise, any airtight containers will work.
- Keep toasted sesame seeds in the fridge.
- Although it’s best to consume as fast as possible while retaining the freshness and the aroma, use within 1 month or so.
- Storing in the cupboard is not recommended.
How to Use
- You can sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on just about anything (rice, noodle, salad, stir-fry, toast etc.) especially Japanese food or Asian food in general.
- You can re-toast (roast) old toasted sesame seeds a few minutes to bring them to life.
- Try grinding toasted sesame seeds using Japanese suribachi & surikogi (mortar and pestle.) It releases extra aroma and becomes a consistency than using them as is.
Step-by-Step Instructions (w/ Photos)
1. Place sesame seeds in a prep bowl.
Visually check them to see if there are some unwanted bits & pieces in there. It’s typically clean and ready to use but check just in case.
Tips: Keep stirring/rotating throughout the cooking process. Also, be sure the pan doesn’t get too hot so you can avoid burning sesame seeds. Adjust the heat as needed.
3. Around 8-10 minutes in, the sesame seeds will slowly start releasing some toasty aroma.
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