I love anything sesame, from the sesame seeds with peanuts sweets, sesame dressing, sesame oil, the Chinese sesame balls with bean paste, and tahini, the Middle Eastern ingredient. If it has sesame in it, I’m bound to love it. In Japanese sesame is goma and it is heavily used in many dishes. Apparently Japan is one of the largest consumers of sesame seeds!
Today’s recipe is goma-ae which is an everyday simple Japanese side dish. Ae means to blend, so it basically means blended with sesame seeds.
Goma-ae is most commonly used with green vegetables, such as spinach, asparagus or green beans. Basically, the vegetables are blanched and then smothered with a sweet and savory sesame seed sauce. Even though this is a very simple dish, it’s often difficult to get right. For me key to a good sauce is to slightly pan roast the seeds in a dry frying pan before using, as it brings out the wonderful flavors of the seeds. This is one extra step in preparation but makes a huge difference in flavor, so don’t skip it! I don’t know if there is a difference between the health benefits of white sesame seeds verses black sesame seeds, but I do find they taste slightly different. Black seeds seems to have a stronger, earthy flavor. Here I used green Beans with Black Sesame Seeds. The black seeds on the bright green is really striking but feel free to use white seeds!
This makes a very healthy and wonderfully sweet and savory side dish. I hope you give it a try!
- 400 grams fresh green beans
- 5 tablespoons roasted black sesame seeds - dry pan roasted
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon sake - Japanese rice wine
- 1 tablespoon mirin - sweet Japanese cooking wine
- Heat frying pan and roast sesame seeds on medium heat until slightly roasted. Because they are so tiny, they roast quickly so keep your eye on them.
- Grind the seeds in a mortar and pestle. You may also use an electric spice grinder. Place in bowl.
- Add one tablespoon each of sugar, soy sauce, sake, mirin to the ground sesame seeds and blend well. Set aside
- Wash and slice green beans on a diagonal so they cook quickly and look pretty!
- In a pot of boiling water, blanch the green beans for 3 to 3½ minutes, or until cooked al dente.
- Drain and run under cold water to stop further cooking.
- In a bowl, blend the cooked green beans with the sesame seed mixture.
- Let sit for for at least a half hour for flavors to meld.