food 4 tots

Fine French beans with sesame dressing

 food for tots, toddlers, recipe for toddlers, picky eaters, Japanese, beans, fine French beans, sesame, seeds, black, vegetables


Source: Adapted and modified from Harumi’s Japanese cooking (another version of this recipe can be found at Everyday Harumi)

Serve: 4

180g fine French beans (equivalent to one pre-packed beans)


30g black sesame seeds (plus 1 tsp white sesame seeds) – toasted
4 tsp superfine sugar
2 tsp light soy sauce (I used Lee Kum Kee premium light soy sauce)
1 tsp mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine) – refer to photo
1 tsp shallot oil


  1. Trim the beans, wash and rinse. Cut diagonally into half.
  2. Bring a pot of well salted water (enough to cover the beans) to a boil. Blanch the beans for a few minutes until they are cooked yet still crisp (at this point, the beans will look greener). Remove them quickly from the boiling water, drain and plunge them into an ice bath for a few minutes. This act is called “shocking” – immersing the beans into the iced water will halt the cooking completely, bring out the sweetness and set the green colour of the vegetables. Drain and pat dry. Set aside.
  3. In a Japanese mortar (suribachi), lightly grind the toasted sesame seeds. Add sugar, light soy sauce, mirin and shallot oil and mix to a smooth paste. (refer to note 3 and photo (c) and (d))
  4. Add the beans into the mortar and toss until they are well coated with the paste. Best to use hands for better results.
  5. Adjust the seasonings if necessary.


  1. How to toast sesame seeds – Dry fry both types of seeds in a frying pan over a medium low heat until they are fragrant and the white sesame seeds look light brown. Adding white sesame seeds will help you to judge 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. Once it’s done, remove from the pan. Set aside. To save time, you can double the amount, toast them in advance and keep in an air-tight container.
  2. You can substitute green beans. Just cut them in half lengthwise and then into half again.
  3. If you do not have a Japanese mortar & pestle (suribachi and surikogi as per photo (c) and (d)), you can make the paste with a food processor. Be careful not to over blend it. Another option (aka my cheater method) is to toast and grind the seeds first (as per photo b). Make more and store them in an air tight container. On the day of making the paste, in a small rice bowl use a dessert spoon to combine the ground sesame seeds, sugar, light soy sauce, mirin until well mix. Press the seeds lightly with the back of the spoon to ensure that the seasonings have been fully absorbed by the seeds.
  4. You can make the dressing in advance and store them in the refrigerator ready for use.
  5. If you cannot find sesame seeds or paste, you can use peanut butter or Tahiti as a substitute.

fine french beans, food for tots, sesame dressing, Japanese, suribachi, surikogi, mortar, pestle

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  1. Joanne says:

    It always amazes me how something as tiny as sesame seeds can yield so much flavor but they really do! I love the idea of using them to spruce up some green beans. Delicious.

  2. KY says:

    I have 2 Harumi books but had been underusing them! I like this dish too, it’s also nice eaten cold like a salad.

  3. Mel says:

    Hmm,I think I’d like this!

  4. I always have sesame seeds in my pantry. Great flavours and good for granishing =)

  5. Julie Trekker says:

    I’ve been making this for years after learning of it in a small Japanese cooking class that was offered through the local Parks & Rec. Always a crowd pleaser. I usually find that when the black sesame seeds are popping like firecrackers, they’re ready. I grind mine by hand in a Suribachi and usually add instant HonDashi for a yummy, tangy zip.

  6. tigerfish says:

    That’s a nice simple dish! And I like that you can make the dressing in advance.

  7. Thanks for your kind mention, LK. You made a lovely version and your shots put mine to shame!

  8. peachkins says:

    this looks good! I’ll do this!

  9. Little Inbox says:

    Previously I wonder where can I get the supply of sesame seeds, but now I found it in a local supermarket. 😛
    Well, I will try to make some once I got a bottle of mirin and some sesame seeds. 🙂
    Love your shots on raw French beans.

    • food-4tots says:

      Little Inbox: Besides supermarket, I think you can find it in shops selling dried good or Chinese medicine shops. Do share with me your feedback yeah. Thanks for your compliment. 😉

  10. anncoo says:

    Great combo, these are the two simple ingredients I loved most.

  11. MaryMoh says:

    mmmm…that’s simple, healthy and delicious. I love French beans. I can eat a big bowl 😀

  12. Alice says:

    This is fantastic, healthy and simple dish for the whole family. 🙂

  13. Ching @ LCOM says:

    What a healthy dish! I need to go buy myself a bottle of mirin soon.

  14. FoodieAnn says:

    This is an interesting combo…Would love to try it…:)

  15. mycookinghut says:

    Simple and healthy looking, I can’t resist but say yes I want!!

  16. Dora says:

    Interesting way of cooking the beans. 🙂

  17. You’ve made a simple French beans dish looks so yummy!

  18. Our whole family is a big fan of green beans. Love your way of dressing them with black sesame seeds, very fragrant.

  19. Evelyn Ng says:

    I like Japanese cooking. It’s good idea to add to my boy lunchbox. But I have more whites than black. Does it make the dish taste differently using white sesame?

    • food-4tots says:

      Evelyn: Yes, the end results will definite vary. I had tried to subsitute 20% with white sesame seeds before but the taste was not to my liking. You may experiment it at your end and compare both. Do share with me your feedback after trying it out. Thanks! 😉

  20. noobcook says:

    wow! looks really great. I’m a fan of Harumi’s cookbooks too. Your photos are so gorgeous like usual 🙂

  21. Love this, I like her cookbooks too and your french beans look so yummy 🙂

  22. Po says:

    We can also replace mirin with two parts cooking sake (aka rice wine) + one part sugar 🙂

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