Green Bean Black Sesame Goma-Ae
My summer of snacking on cold salads directly out of the fridge continues!
Not that this is a salad; it’s more of a side dish. Goma-ae is a delicious Japanese vegetable side dish, often using spinach (or another green vegetable, like green beans) and always seasoned with goma (sesame).
It’s such a simple recipe, I have a feeling this is going to be a short blog post…
I like using black sesame with green beans (and slicing them lengthwise) for the visual contrast, but toasted white sesame seeds work too. I’m just partial to all things black sesame (as my black sesame ice cream obsession, and black sesame mochi cake recipe will attest).
Nutty, rich black sesame pairs especially well with sugary desserts, but here it gets used in a side dish that’s more savory than sweet.
The sesame seeds are ground up together with a little sugar, a little soy sauce, and a pinch of salt (and sometimes miso paste), then the whole thing is slathered over blanched, drained green beans (or spinach).
A while back, probably in the pre-blog days, I tried making spinach goma-ae for Paula with white sesame, but she couldn’t get over the taste of a slightly sugary dressing on spinach, and she especially couldn’t get into anything that involved cold cooked spinach. I guess many people might be with her on that one…
Blanched green beans are another story — they are crisp, green, and fresh tasting even after a few minutes of boiling, and they hold up well to the sesame/sugar/soy sauce combination, since they have a little natural sweetness themselves.
This side dish is the perfect green accompaniment to a meat- or grain-centered meal. The sesame seasoning is one of my favorite ways to dress up green vegetables with flavors that transport me back to Japan.
p.s. As I’ve fallen more and more behind on replying to blog comments (sorry!), I’ve come to an important realization: as a grad student, I procrastinated on my research by working on this blog. Now that I’m not a student anymore, I must not be quite as desperate for procrastinatory activities! I’ve been spending less time on Spontaneous Tomato, and more time on summer teaching, new-used-car-buying (and soon used-car-selling), and wedding planning! That might just be how things are this summer, until I get married (in Sept.), find a job (?!?), and settle into a new routine.
Don’t worry, though; I’m still finding time for plenty of cooking and eating.
Print this recipe. (PDF)
Green Bean Black Sesame Goma-Ae
(Makes 2-3 cups; serves 6-8 as a side dish.)
Active and total time: 30 minutes.
~ 1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed off
~ ¼ cup toasted black sesame seeds
~ 1 Tbsp. sugar, or to taste
~ pinch of salt
~ 4 tsp. soy sauce
~ 2 tsp. mirin (optional; if not using, increase sugar to taste)
How to make it:
1. Optionally halve the green beans lengthwise using a sharp paring knife (it takes a while to do this, though). Chop the green beans crosswise into short lengths (1½ – 2 inches long).
2. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and put a colander in the sink. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then blanch the chopped green beans: boil lengthwise-halved green beans for about 3 minutes, or boil whole green beans for about 4 minutes. (Taste-test one for doneness before draining them.) Drain the green beans in the colander, then plunge them into the ice water to stop them from cooking. Drain again, gently pat dry, and transfer to a bowl.
3. Using a mortar and pestle (the ridged Japanese suribachi type works especially well), grind the sesame seeds well. (You may need to do this in batches.) Add the sugar and salt, and grind those into the sesame seeds. Then add the soy sauce (and the mirin, if using) and continue grinding: it should come together into a paste. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
4. Use your hands to gently distribute the sesame paste over the blanched, dried green beans. Transfer to a smaller serving dish if desired and serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to a few days. Goma-ae is best served at room temperature (or slightly chilled).
Print this recipe! (PDF)
Related recipe posts:
|Japanese Chilled Tofu (2 ways) and Black Sesame Dressing||Canning 101: Pickled Green Beans||Korean Banchan: Spicy Sesame Bean Sprouts||Lentil Green Bean Salad with Vinaigrette|