20. Open Sesame: The Tiny Seeds That Pack a Huge Punch

Sesame (or til, in Hindi) is closely linked with Makar Sankranti (a popular winter festival in West India, during which sweets such as til ladoo, til papad and til chikki are prepared), but it is a far more versatile product – you can use it as a core ingredient, as a seasoning, to add texture, or to extract oil. And, its roots go far back in history. The earliest example of the use of sesame was found in the Indus Valley excavations, it was once an important trade commodity, and, closer home, it served many ritualistic purposes. Listen to Vikram Doctor trace the story of these tiny seeds and find out about the role sesame has played in commerce, Indian culture, and of course, cooking.

Music: Josh Woodward
Picture: Shutterstock.com