A blog about food in Thailand
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Sesame oil

Posted date:  December 17, 2008
6 Comments


 Dried sesame plants, Pang Muu, Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Sesame is an important item in the traditional diet of the Shan people in Mae Hong Son. In addition to the various sweets that employ the seed, sesame is also used for its oil. Most places in Mae Hong Son use a mechanical press to make sesame oil, but one place in Ban Pang Muu, about 5km north of the provincial capital, still does it the old way: by buffalo.

They begin with dried sesame, shown above. When the pods are fully grown and dried, they open themselves, and getting the seeds out simply involves turning them over and shaking them out. The seeds are washed thoroughly, dried, and are ready to go

A bit of a water is added to the large wooden mortar-like vessel:

Preparing to make sesame oil, Pang Muu, Mae Hong Son, Thailand

followed by the seeds themselves:

Preparing to make sesame oil, Pang Muu, Mae Hong Son, Thailand

which have been washed thoroughly and dried slightly, but are not roasted beforehand, as in Chinese-style sesame oil:

Preparing to make sesame oil, Pang Muu, Mae Hong Son, Thailand

A rather reluctant buffalo is connected to a large wooden ‘pestle’ and proceeds to walk around in circles, driving the pestle and crushing the seeds:

Using a buffalo to press sesame oil, Pang Muu, Mae Hong Son, Thailand

It takes about three hours to extract all the oil, and the guy above has to walk with the buffalo the entire time, otherwise it will stop:

Using a buffalo to press sesame oil, Pang Muu, Mae Hong Son, Thailand

After an hour or so the oil begins to separate from the seeds and rises to the top. After three hours it’s simply scooped out by hand.  It takes 15kg of seeds to produce 4kg of oil, which is then put old whiskey bottles and sold in the province’s markets:

Bottle of sesame oil, Mae Hong Son, Thailand

To see this process firsthand, visit:

Pang Moo Organic Sesame Project
255/1 Moo 1, Pang Moo, Mae Hong Son
053 612 534


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6 Comments for Sesame oil


cool!!!! I’ll swap you one bottle of organic sesame oil for a bottle of Australian garlic infused olive oil

What a cool, simple process! Thanks for sharing the photos. I am really learning a lot from your blog & enjoying it. Keep up the good work!

-Cassidy
cassidyisinthestates.blogspot.com

A hard working Nong Buff!

Maytel: Already got you guys one–no swapping necessary.
Cassidy: I found it interesting as well. Thanks for reading!
A: Most certainly. And guess what he gets to eat afterward? Sesame shells. Lucky Buff.

Hi – just found your blog; perfect, that Google map is just what I need for my trip to Bangkok next week! Question: Last time I was there, most of the food served to me in restaurants wasn’t really that spicy… Is it that they’re toning it down to suit “farang” taste buds? What can I say to convince to turn the heat on despite my foreign appearance?

[…] of ingredients, many of which are virtually unknown in Bangkok or even Chiang Mai. Items such as as sesame oil (used as a condiment, not simply as a frying fat) and chickpea flour, and as mentioned in this […]



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