Upgrade Basic Mayo With Toasted Sesame Oil For An Umami Flair

Mayonnaise is effortless, uncomplicated, and seemingly unapologetic. While its origins are controversial, it has risen to the top, thrashing the likes of ketchup, to be regarded in 2021 as the most popular condiment in the United States. Yet, within its simplicity is also a slight boredom. While the likes of sriracha or garlic mayo may have caught your eye, it's time to think beyond the box and out into the mayonnaise universe. Adding in toasted sesame oil is a brilliant place to begin this exploration.

Toasted sesame oil has a much richer and complex nutty flavor than standard sesame oil. Once combined with mayonnaise, the toasted sesame oil infuses the creamy tang of mayonnaise with an umami flair, making this condiment earthy, silky, and increasingly addictive. It's natural to be apprehensive about this pairing; after all, mayonnaise already contains oil, and adding more may sound like a goopy mess. Yet if the amounts are carefully balanced, the mayonnaise's flavor becomes profoundly rich, nutty, and brimming with umami aromas. If you've got a basic jar of mayo taking up space in the fridge, what's the harm in trying this trick? You've got nothing to lose.

It shall be named sesamayo

Before you consider what other ingredients could turn up this mayo, there are a couple of pointers to follow to ensure your sesame mayo doesn't split. First, your mayonnaise and sesame oil must be at room temperature. If either of these ingredients is cold from the fridge, it could impact the binding between the two.

Next, it is also essential that the toasted sesame oil is whisked into the mayonnaise as slowly as possible. It's the same logic as making homemade mayonnaise; adding your oil too fast will not emulsify with the egg yolks. With this in mind, add the sesame oil little by little.

If your mayonnaise's creamy emulsion form does break from the addition of sesame oil, you can always add your broken mayonnaise slowly to a whisked egg yolk in a separate bowl. Ensure this egg yolk is at room temperature, and add the mayonnaise slowly until you see the split emulsion begin to re-bind. It's never too late to save it.

The perfect umami extras

If you want to take this dip to the next umami level, you may consider adding a splash of soy sauce to the sesame-mayonnaise mix. This will give the sauce a savory edge that's moreish and meaty. Suppose your basic mayonnaise is quite salty already. In that case, you can consider using a low-sodium soy sauce or experiment with shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), which is known to have more nuanced flavors than the bold Chinese variety.

If you're more inclined to appreciate spicy, get creative with a squeeze of Sriracha. This is a no-brainer, as Sriracha's flavor melds wonderfully into both mayonnaise and sesame individually, so combining the three is exceptional. If you're instead looking to brighten the dip, you may consider adding a little citrus juice — lime juice pairs well with toasted sesame oil to add a refreshing air to the nutty flavor.

If your basic mayo is screaming for a glow-up, whisk in some toasted sesame oil and see this classic taste become an umami powerhouse.