Japanese Creamy Sesame Sauce


Shabu shabu is a party on a plate. In winter, sharing a hot pot with friends is an entertaining dinner. This version of shabu shabu is like eating a bouquet of summer: cool with colorful fruit and vegetables. Prepare it in the morning before the kitchen is hot. You can bring it to a potluck party, or serve it as an amuse gueule. The sauce with crudité makes a nice change from the usual sour cream-type of dip

Cold Beef Shabu-Shabu with Creamy Sesame Dressing
Shabu Shabu Sesame Dressing
The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo

page 453
serves 2 to 3

Creamy Sesame Dressing:

  • 4 Tablespoons sesame paste
  • 6 1/2 Tablespoons dashi
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons shoyu (taste, and adjust if necessary)

Put the sesame paste into a suribachi. Little by little, grind or stir in the dashi. This step is fun to watch as the sesame paste turns paler and thinner as soon as the liquid hits it. Add the mirin, then the soy sauce. Taste, and if you like, add more soy sauce.

The Vegetables:

  • 1 red bell pepper or 2 small sweet Italian peppers
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 naganegi (Japanese green onion), a young leek, or a small bunch of scallions
  • 12 thin asparagus spears or green beans (depending on the season)
  • 1 papaya or mango

•• Peel the peppers: wash, remove stems, cut into quarters, remove seeds, then place them skin-side up on a foil-lined cookie sheet. I used my little toaster oven, set on toast to roast the peppers—through several “toast” cycles. Or you can put them into an oven broiler for a few minutes. The skin blisters and blackens in places. Let them cool, then pull off the skins. Cut the peppers into strips.
•• Cut the negi or leek into strips about 3 inches long. If you are using green onions, cut the white and pale green parts into 2 to 3 inch lengths, then slice them into “brushes” by cutting lengthwise, but leave the strips uncut on one end. Soak in cold water for 20 to 30 minutes to make them curly like flowers.
•• Cook the asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute. Cool in ice water. Dry. Cut crosswise into 3 inch lengths.
•• Pit, peel, and cut the papaya into 3 inch sticks.

The Beef:

  • 1 pound well marbled thin-sliced beef sirloin

You can find thin-sliced beef for shabu shabu in Asian markets. Or freeze beef for about an hour, then slice it yourself.
Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil. Have ready, a bowl of ice-water and a colander lined with a cotton cloth. Use chopsticks or tongs to pick up one slice of beef. Plunge it into the boiling water and swish it for about 10 seconds: it turns pinkish white. Pull it out and drop it into ice water to stop the cooking—do not overcook or it will be tough! Transfer to the colander. Cook another piece. and so on…

Other Japanese sesame sauce recipes:

Cold Beef Shabu Shabushabu-2010_6752spicy-sesame-noodles_6945Sesame Dipping Sauce with Udon
Japanese Black Sesame DressingShira Ae Sesame Tofu DressingBurokkori no Gomazu-ae

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