Sesame oil essential in Chinese confinement care

Sesame oil essential in Chinese confinement care
PHOTO: Sesame oil essential in Chinese confinement care

First time fathers might not be able to resist the temptation of confinement cuisine like sesame oil chicken and ginger omelette with sesame oil.

However, they feel hot after eating the dishes and some might even suffer from fever.

Many people cannot understand why women in confinement are able to resist dishes with "heating" ingredients like ginger, sesame oil, wine and black vinegar.

We can only say that it is the wisdom of our ancestors, who found the need for women to add these ingredients into their post-natal diets. The ingredients are said to be able to alleviate "wind" and warm the body to prevent pain in the future.

However, some might ask why only Chinese mothers have to follow such traditions but not Malay, Indian and Western mothers?

It might be because the Malays and Indians have been adding much spices into their daily meals and it should be more than enough to drive out "wind". Meanwhile, Westerners usually eat high-calorie red meat such as beef and lamb and it should also help them warm their bodies.

People in Penang should have a deep impression on bottled sesame oil attached with a yellow label printed with red words, as well as the trademark "Legendary Baby".

The Ghee Hiang Manufacturing Co Sdn Bhd is celebrating its 155th anniversary this year and its aromatic sesame oil has been added into countless of confinement dishes over all these years.

A recipe from Fujian

A sesame oil maker from Fujian Province in China was recruited in 1856 and his recipe was adopted to produce the appetizing sesame oil.

The tempting aroma has been retained until today and many tourists will bring home a few bottles of Ghee Hiang sesame oil when they visit Penang.

Ghee Hiang director Ch'ng Huck Theng said that although the production of sesame oil is now semi-mechanised, the quality has been maintained.

During the Japanese occupation period, sesame oil makers extracted sesame oil by pouring sesame into a hole in the middle of a trunk. After the World War II, they started to buy machines and devices, but the production has been remained at the semi-mechanised status to maintain quality, especially in the process of frying sesame, which requires close monitoring and flexible handling.

Fine raw materials are essential to produce good quality sesame oil. Sesame of different countries of origin will also affect the taste and therefore, they are particular in raw material procurement.

An ancient herbal remedy

Sesame oil is the world's oldest refined grain seasoning, as well as an ancient herbal medicine. Chinese and Indian traditional healers used to use sesame oil to slow down certain types of cancer, reduce inflammation and improve defecation.

Sesame oil does not contain cholesterol and is heart healthy. It contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, Vitamin E, lecithin, calcium, phosphorus, iron and other minerals, as well as various constituents with anti-oxidant and anti-depressant properties.

It is believed that Chinese fried sesame oil is good for women in confinement who need nutrient replenishment.

Meanwhile, modern medicine believes that sesame oil could affect the amount of oleic acid in breast milk and help the baby's eye and brain development.

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