“SPINACH IN SESAME DRESSING
Horenso no gomae
MAKES 1 SERVE FOR SHARING PREPARATION TIME 10 MINS COOKING TIME 1 MIN
This Japanese side dish is one of the most popular accompaniments to a home-style
meal and it’s also a great way to get started using a mortar and pestle. You can grind
the sesame as coarsely or as finely as you like.
3 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sake
1 tsp soy sauce, plus extra for drizzling
1 bunch (about 250g) spinach
1 Toast the sesame seeds in a dry saucepan over
medium heat and transfer to a large mortar and pestle
with the sugar. Grind to a rough paste then add the sake
and soy sauce and continue to grind until quite smooth.
2 Wash the spinach well, keeping the roots intact. Bring
a saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Place the spinach
in the pot roots first and hold the roots and stems in the
liquid for about 10 seconds, then lower the leaves into
the water and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the spinach
from the pot, drop it into a bowl of cold water to stop the
cooking, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible (use
a sushi mat if you like, or your hands).
3 Place the spinach on a large plate and drizzle with a
little soy sauce, then cut it into 5cm lengths and discard
the roots. Transfer to the mortar. Mix with the sesame
dressing but do not pound the spinach. Remove from
the mortar and serve at room temperature.
A Japanese mortar (suribachi) has ridges inside the bowl and is used for
grinding rather than pounding, but any mortar and pestle will work fi ne.
I prefer toasting sesame seeds in a small saucepan rather than a frypan
because it allows you to swirl the seeds rather than trying to toss them in
a frypan. The swirling motion will toast the seeds more evenly.
Toasting sesame seeds brings out a strong nutty flavour, but also makes
them more brittle. The seeds will grind more easily when well toasted.” pps6-7