This dish is called Goma-ae in Japan, and a ubiquitous side dish often made with spinach or green beans. Goma means sesame seeds and “ae” means to toss or to dress something with.
Because this dish only calls for five ingredients, make sure each component is prepared carefully with love! Make sure sesame seeds are well toasted and ground, spinach is not overcooked, and most of all, to squeeze excess water from the spinach. Take your time and you won’t be disappointed with the complex and earthly flavors of freshly ground sesame seeds, savory soy sauce and sweetened rice wine.
Keep the sauce and spinach separate, and they should keep well in the fridge for two days. Toss the sauce and spinach right before serving.
Spinach with Sesame Sauce
- Suribachi & Surikogi (Japanese style mortar and pestle)
- 12 oz fresh spinach, trimmed and washed one bunch
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds natural
- 2 tablespoon light soy sauce may use regular soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon mirin Japanese sweet wine
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish
- Gather ingredients.
Blanching the Spinach:
- In a large saucepan, bring water to boil. Get a bowl of iced water and set it aside.
- Add spinach to boiling water for 15-20 seconds (do not overcook the spinach!). Using tongs or spider, scoop out all the spinach and drop them in the prepared bowl of iced water. Note: if using a smaller pot, blanch half of the spinach at a time. Wait until the water boils again and blanch the other half.
- Squeeze water out of the spinach and cut them into one-inch length.
- Grind 1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds in a Japanese style mortar and pestle. Add sugar and grind for another couple of minutes until it almost resembles a paste.
- Add mirin, light soy sauce, and mix well, scraping side with a rubber spatula. Note: never use metal on Suribachi as it will scratch the grids in the bowl.
- Squeeze excess water one more time and using chopsticks, loosen the spinach. Add three-quarters of the sauce to the spinach and toss well. Taste and add more sauce if needed. Sprinkle sesame seeds and serve immediately.