Women of all virtues are regarded as goddesses in our society even today, it is a common sight in some families here that men treating his worldly wise mother as Sarasawathi, the goddess of wisdom & knowledge, his caring wife as Durga Devi, the goddess of strength & protection, and his lively daughter as goddess Lakshmi who brings in prosperity. Even our prime minister, a devotee of goddess Durga, inducted a righteous woman into his cabinet of ministers as the national defence minister. Ironically we could find several references in our ancient literature which stress the need for the respect of women in unequivocal terms. Thiruvalluvar, an enlightened sage lived in 300 BC, wrote about the eternity of values to be followed by kings, men & women in all walks of life in Tamil (the oldest language in the world) and compiled Thirukkural, the greatest Tamil literary masterpiece known till today. Interestingly he did not miss to highlight the women power in his classic text 2000 years ago as below:
Today, on the day of International Women’s day, let’s celebrate the woman power by preparing sesame seed squares with sesame seeds & dates, the most nourishing ingredients for women, young or old. Since all the plant seeds are packed with key ingredients essential to generate life for new plants, they are also beneficial to women for their fertility or pregnancy nutrition. Sesame seeds are enriched with zinc contributing fertility, calcium required for strong bones and iron prevents anaemia, the most common mineral deficiency among women. Although dates are considered to be a good source of iron (0.9 mg, whereas sesame seeds have 14.76 mg of iron) I used dates mainly as a sweetener (and also a binder) here.
Ayurvedic properties of sesame seeds:
Sesame seed oil is of great importance in Ayurvedic treatments particularly as a massaging oil for its deep penetrating quality.
|Taste (Rasa):||Sweet (mathura) & bitter (tikta)|
|Qualities (Guna):||Strong & penetrating (teekshana)|
Clear (vishada) -calms mind after oil bath
Heaviness (guru)- causes satiety
|Potency (Veerya):||Hot (Ushna)- ideal during winter/ monsoon.|
|Action (Karma):|| Balances Kapha & vata, |
but faintly increases pitta
|Benefits:|| Maintains youthfulness (vayasthapana) |
Improves intelligence (medhakara)
Improves memory (smrithikara)
Improves strength & immunity (balakara)
Improves digestion (deepana)
Sesame seeds nutrion data: (according to USDA)
It is recommended to take black sesame seeds than white or red sesame seeds as black sesame are rich sources of calcium than other sesame seeds.
|Sesame seeds||100 g||Daily requirement|
We can prepare sugar-free sesame seed squares by refrigerating the dough for few hours, or we can just roll the dough into balls instantly as shown below. Sesame seed balls/ squares may be served as snacks for children, but I would like to take these hearty squares as a meal itself.
I have prepared 2 types of sesame fudges, one with white sesame seeds & some seeds and the other with black sesame seeds, chocolate & dried fruits specially for girl children. Now let us look in to the recipe for both the sesame squares as below:
|Sesame seed square||Fruity sesame fudge|
|1/2 cup of white sesame seeds||1/2 cup of black sesame seeds|
|1/2 cup of pitted dates||1/2 cup of pitted dates|
|2 tbsp of cocoa powder|
|A pinch of dried ginger powder||A pinch of dried ginger powder|
|A pinch of cardamom powder||A pinch of cardamom powder|
|1/4 tsp of toasted black sesame seeds||1/4 tsp of toasted white sesame seeds|
|Pumpkin seeds||Sweetened dried cherries (chopped)|
|Sunflower seeds||Dried apricots (chopped)|
|Melon seeds||Sweetened dried pineapple (chopped)|
Preparation of sesame seed squares:
- Dry roast sesame seeds and leave aside to cool them down.
- Meanwhile microwave dates after sprinkling some water for 2 min and make a puree using blender.
- Grind roasted sesame seeds into fine powder.
- Add sesame seeds powder, dates puree & cocoa powder into a mixing bowl and knead into a soft dough.
- Sprinkle white sesame seeds & chopped fruits and mix well.
- Transfer the dough to a greased container and press with the back of a flat ladle to level the surface.
- Sprinkle chopped fruits over the dough and press again with a spoon.
- Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
- Transfer the chilled dough to a tray and cut into squares.
Tips & Tweaks:
- We can prepare the same with white sesame seeds as below.
- I have packed the dough up to the height of 1″ inside the container, it won’t look nice if you increase the depth of squares.
- You may immerse the box in warm water for few minutes to invert the chilled dough onto a tray easily.