Sesame oil comes from an annual herb (Sesamum indicum). The plant is a warm weather plant that grows from the tropics to warm temperate regions. The major producing countries are China, India, Sudan, and Mexico. The seed is 40 to 60 percent oil and is used directly for food when it is cold pressed. The oil is also recovered by mixed expeller and solvent extraction. Sesame paste is a famous food in the lands along the eastern Mediterranean.
Sesame oil has very good oxidative constancy, which is thought to be related to sesamin or another unknown antioxidant in the native oil. When sesame oil is added to other oils for use in frying, the oxidative actions of the recipient oil are improved. The oil is pale yellow and without odor after refining, but also is sold in a darker version for use in Asian cooking.
The fatty acid composition has some similarities to peanut oil in that the levels of oleic acid and linoleic acid are quite similar. Typical composition of sesame oil is 10 percent palmitic acid, 5 percent stearic acid, 41 percent oleic acid, and 43 percent linoleic acid. Typical tocopherol values are 136 mg/kg a-tocopherol and 290 mg/kg ү- tocopherol for a total of 426 mg/kg.