Sesame seeds are my favourite kitchen condiment, be it white or black. I love to use them in both my cooking and baking for their flavourful aroma. Besides, their tiny size and contrasting colours give an elegant touch to any simple dish. So, for sure, any recipe with sesame seeds as an ingredient would catch my attention, just like this popular Japanese home-style dish that I learnt from Ju of Little Teochew. It calls for black sesame seeds to be toasted and grinded lightly to bring out the extra flavour. When mixed with seasonings, it forms a wonderful dressing for the blanched beans to give a light and healthy dish. Captivated by her strong recommendation and fabulous shots, I was convinced that this is a must-try recipe. She further pointed out that the recipe was a creation of “Martha Stewart of Japan” Harumi Kurihara, a celebrity homemaker and television personality in Japan. That’s also how I got introduced to the delightful world of Japanese cuisine. Thanks Ju!
Since then, I became increasingly eager to learn more about Harumi’s recipes. I started off by first going to the library to search for her cookbooks. I managed to borrow one among her many published titles – “Harumi’s Japanese Cooking” which features plenty of easy to prepare meals. This cookbook was awarded “Best Cookbook of the Year” by Gourmand World Cookbooks Awards in 2004. The recipe I posted today is adapted from it. I gave a little tweak to the recipe to suit my liking, in which I substituted green beans with fine French beans for extra crunchiness. I also added a little bit of white sesame seeds to help me judge the stage of the toasted sesame seeds better as it’s impossible to do so with black sesame seeds and avoid having burnt seeds.
I made this dish for my mother in law’s to sample during her recent visit. I was a bit worried of her response as she usually avoided eating anything with sesame seeds as she found them irritating and hurtful given that they often get lodged in between her denture and gum. Being mindful of her aversion, I used food processor to grind the toasted seeds more finely before mixing them with seasonings in a bowl to get a smoother paste. I made the dressing in advance and store them in the refrigerator. I couldn’t believe that she fall for this dish at her first bite. She was so impressed by how quickly I prepared this dish. Now she can’t wait to try it out this recipe herself when she returns home. She totally agrees that it is a great way to incorporate seeds in her diet.
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I’m so happy to find a new way of enjoying fine French beans and black sesame seeds. My son loves this sesame dressing so much that he even licked his bowl clean. All said, I felt encouraged to make this dish more often in future.