Update: Pictures updated in August 2012.
Goma means sesame seed in Japanese and goma-ae are dishes prepared with sesame seasoning. We usually mix this ground sesame seasoning with spinach or green beans. This is one of the most common Japanese side dishes, or we call it Osouzai (お惣菜) in Japanese, and you often find them included in the bento box or teishoku (lunch set).
If you use “pre-roasted” sesame seed, step 2 below is not necessary. However I highly recommend this extra step so the roasted sesame seed adds more fragrance and flavor to the sauce. Also after roasting, the frying pan will stay clean so you don’t have to wash extra dishes. :) Enjoy!
- 1 bunch (½ lb, 220g) spinach
- A pinch of salt
- 3 Tbsp. roasted white sesame seeds
- 1 ½Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. sake
- ½ tsp. mirin
- Wash fresh spinach and boil lots of water in a large pot. While waiting for the water to boil, go on to the next step.
- (OPTIONAL) Put sesame seeds in a frying pan and roast them on medium heat until 2-3 sesame seeds jump (similar to popcorn). Keep shaking the pan to rotate the sesame seeds so they won't get burnt. Remove from the heat immediately.
- Put the roasted sesame seeds in a circular grinder and grind them with a wooden pestle (while it’s hot). If you don’t have a Japanese grinder any other spice grinder will do.
- Add sugar and mix well, then add soy sauce, sake, and mirin. Mix all together and set aside.
- When water is boiling, add a pinch of salt into boiling water. Put spinach in the pot starting from the stem because they take longer to cook. Push all the spinach into the water. Cook for 1 minute.*
- Drain and soak the spinach in cold water until cool.
- Collect spinach from the bowl and squeeze water out of the spinach.
- Cut spinach into 2” lengths. Dry the bowl with towel and put the spinach back in the bowl.
- Add the sesame sauce into the bowl and mix well.
*Note: American spinach is very soft and we can eat it raw unlike Japanese spinach; therefore, 1 minute should be more than enough.