Simple, satisfying sesame dressing

Still mired in the depths of winter (as promised we are not whining; this is simply a fact), Gourmandistan’s vegetable selections are sadly few as we wait for local spring.

We’re down to broccoli, broccolini and other things easily put in a backpack and walked up a long and still ice-slick drive. (Still fact! Not bitching!)

So we’ve done several grocery vegetable dinners, and we’ve once again turned to Harumi Kurihara’s simple sesame dressing.

Sesame Dressing

Often called “The Martha Stewart of Japan,” Kurihara’s cookbooks have helped us find some tasty items for our occasional bento boxes. We slightly twisted her recipe for “Sesame Dressing,” which she claims in Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking goes nicely with mixed salad or crudités.

Sesame seeds

We agree, but also think it goes great with baked tofu, cashews and roasted boring, store-bought broccolini over a bit of rice.

Roasted broccolini with sesame dressingA little bite, a little heat, and a little sweet make this sauce something we use over and over again. Especially while we wait for spring.


(adapted from Harumi Kurihara’s Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking)

  • 2 TB white sesame seeds
  • 2 TB sesame paste (tahini)
  • 2 TB water
  • 1 TB rice vinegar
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB sugar
  • Salt
  • Red pepper flakes

Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet. Then, mash with a mortar and pestle or grind in a mini food processor. Place seeds, along with all other ingredients, in a glass jar and shake until thoroughly mixed.


    • Thanks, and please do! Maybe the UPS or FedEx driver could leave them sitting at the bottom of our snow/ice-covered driveway as the water delivery guy did recently on a single digit day. Yeah, it was nice of him to leave them in the snow right by the truck. I guess it didn’t occur to him that the truck was parked down there because we couldn’t drive the last quarter mile up to the house. (But, why else would the truck have been there? Duh.)

  1. What coincidence! We went to a gyoza place tonight, where they served steamed spinach with a black sesame sauce (the gyoza was good too). And I was thinking I really want to try to recreate the sauce at home. I’ll start with this recipe and see how I go!

  2. Jody and Ken, There is nothing better than a self-prepared dressing, ready at a moment’s notice. By happenstance, I have every ingredient for this versatile, robust concoction! I could see it being drizzled over salad, rice or flaky, white cooked fish. Thank you for introducing Harumi Kurihara and I, as well. Beautiful photos and prose, as always! Best, Shanna

  3. Portland was buried under snow last weekend (it doesn’t take much to shut this city down) and let me tell you, I’m still complaining! However as much as I loathe the cold, I love pretty winter pictures! And your ice pictures are just as pretty as your dinner. =)

    • Thanks! It has been (and is) pretty. I’ve been Instagram crazy this month. Hey, it’s boring here in the snow/ice and it passes the time. But Steve said he was “ready for this series to end”! And I can’t say I disagree. Hope PDX has warmed up!

  4. So simple & lovely, sesame dressing accounts for many of my favourite and inspired Asian foods! I must check out those books soon, my mum delays loves regional Asian recipes so it’s a perfect one for both our shelves 🙂

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