by Emma Chow
Sesame seed dressing is a popular in Japanese cuisine. It has a strong aroma of toasted sesame seeds and a sweet, salty, sour punch. It brightens up any vegetable, cooked or raw, from roasted pumpkin chunks to plain blanched green beans or thinly shredded cabbage. You can buy bottles of creamy sesame dressing in Japanese and Asian grocery stores, but it is crazy expensive for how much of it you will end up using. This salad makes a great accompaniment to any meat or fish, and I’ve found it particularly good for convincing small children that green things are delicious to eat. It can be eaten warm or cold and is great in lunchboxes.
6 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Japanese mayonnaise (optional; this thickens and smooths the sauce but actually isn’t that necessary)
Large handful of green beans
2 heads of broccoli
If available you could use: asparagus, snow peas, sugar snap peas, broccolini, brussel sprouts, spinach leaves; really any green vegetable.
Put a shallow pan on medium heat and pour in sesame seeds. Move the seeds around in the pan to toast.
When some seeds start popping, remove pan from the heat and pour sesame seeds into a clean bowl to stop them from toasting further.
Reserve one tablespoon of seeds for garnishing. Pour the rest of the toasted seeds into a mortar and pestle or a coffee/spice grinder and grind the seeds into a paste.
Add the soy, sugar, mirin and rice vinegar to the mortar and pestle and continue grinding until you have a smooth dressing.
If using a coffee/spice grinder, remove seeds into a bowl and stir in the other dressing ingredients.
Prep your green vegetables depending on what you’re using. Break down broccoli into bite size florets and cut the stalk into batons about 1cm wide and top and tail the beans.
In a large shallow pan add a tablespoon of your usual neutral oil and put on high heat. When oil is hot, add green beans and fry until just cooked through. Do the same with the broccoli. Alternatively you can lightly coat green vegetables in oil, season with salt and vinegar and roast in an oven set at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. You could also grill the vegetables in a griddle pan.
Dress warm vegetables with some sesame dressing.
Salad will keep covered in fridge for up to 3 days. Dressing alone will keep for a week sealed in the fridge.