Black Sesame Dressing: Goma-ae


Shira-ae, the white salad dressing I posted about recently has a black counterpart! Goma-ae is made with black sesame seeds and is sweet, nutty, and a bit salty.
Here I served it with broccoli but I can image how dramatic it would look with yellow or orange vegetables:
cubes of butternut squash, sliced and diced carrots, pumpkin cut into chunks, sweet corn (not sure of this taste combo), sweet potatoes, roasted golden beets, squares of roasted yellow peppers, yellow potatoes,slices of yellow summer squash, yellow tomatoes, yellow winter squash…
And as long as we’re at it, think about white vegetables with a black dressing:
cauliflower, roasted garlic, Jerusalem artickoke, jicama, kohlrabi, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes…
As for the flavor, I don’t think a bit of lime or lemon juice would go amiss in this recipe. It’s probably only me, but I often find Japanese recipes a bit too sweet for my palate—no “sweet-tooth” in my mouth.

Black Sesame Dressing
revised from The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo
page 252
yields 1/2 cup for 4 generous servings

  • 5 Tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons dashi
  • 1/2 teaspoon tamari
  • 8 ounces vegetable, use any seasonal vegetable you like such as
  • asparagus, broccoli, eggplant, green beans, kale, mustard greens, spinach, and so on
  • Garnish: Yuzu, lemon, or lime rind, julienned

Grind the black sesame seeds in a suribachi (Japanese mortar) to an oily paste. Add the sugar and blend thoroughly. Add the dashi, 1 Tablespoon at a time. Blend in the tamari. This can be stored for a couple of days, tightly covered in the fridge.
Blanch the vegetable briefly, and cool in cold running water. Cut the vegetables into chopstick suitable size. Toss with dressing just before serving.

Note, you can use a food processor, but I can never get the seeds ground to a smooth paste. On the other hand, it is less work.


4 thoughts on “Black Sesame Dressing: Goma-ae

  1. No sweet tooth in your head maybe but all other kinds of sweetness. I like your suggestion of using white vegetables for drama. It made me wonder too about other black foods and are there many that are true black? Could you have a black on black dish? I suppose nori is black and eggplant is a species of black, are eels black…hmmmm sqiud ink? But I think you’re right a bright jewel like green is a good thing in this combo. Love black sesame icecream too. (I have got at least one sweet tooth).
    Have you seen the cooking thesaurus Tess? It is beautifully produced and just like Roget’s lists the similar and complimentary. I gave it to a friend for her birthday and she said she was going to abandon cooking for the day and go back to bed to read it in luxurious seclusion. It uses a colour code as well as sours, sweets, citrus, creamy etc. I’ll have to sneak a look at it when I visit and consult both headings for black and sesame.
    On suribachi versus food processor it’s suribachi in this kitchen every time – even if it is time consuming to clean. Firstly it’s a lovely word and great to to say out loud, even if only to oneself and secondly I really believe the end product to be superior, don’t you. Did I tell you we saw old ones in Japan where the grooves were made by lining the interior with pine needles before firing? They were beautiful. CXx

    • Black on black? The eels I have eaten have been skinned (skin may be black: being a resident of the Great Lakes in Michigan, lamprey eel are in my mind and are black and evil), so eel I’ve eaten are not black, just reddish from the prepared sauce applied to them.

      Coffee is sort of black. Licorice. Burnt toast (or pots on my stove I forget are still on when I start working at the computer). Black beans in Tex-Mex food. Black soybeans. Black jelly beans. Maybe some sort of caviar. Black grapes. Raisins. figs, Dark chocolate. Blackberries. Cloud-ear fungus. Truffles. Olives. Eggplant skin. Squid ink. Black sesame seeds…

      Suribachi, yes, it is better. Smoother results. Hmm. lining the interior of a suribachi with pine needles: interesting. The two I have, it looks like the grooves were made by scraping or incising lines into the clay before firing.

      It is so great that you were able to see such interesting things on your visit to Japan.


      missed you while you were away…

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