This is, in my humble opinion, one of the best Japanese vegetable dishes you will ever try. It's very nutricious, low calorie, requires only a few ingredients and can be ready in under 15 minutes. Not only that it is one of the tastiest Japanese vegetable dishes I know. Sesame - both black and white - finds its way into a lot of Japanese dishes - it's used as a garnish (like this recipe where tosted sesame is used) as a salad dressing and even in desserts. This wide use of sesame in Japanese cooking shouldn't be a surprise as it is full of lots of important minerals - zinc, magnesium, copper and iron to name a few. When it comes to spinach, I don't think I need to go into the benefits of eating it, suffice to say its also full of iron, magnesium and Vitamin E.
In Japan, the most common variery of spinach is called Komatsuna and I would use Koatsuna in this dish - either leaves from a mature plant or baby leaves - I find babcy leaves work better as they impart a sweeter flavour. Short of buying seeds and growing your own Komatsuna, you can use just about any spinach variety for this dish - they all work very well.
So, I said this dish was easy, didn't I. All you have to do is take your spinach and give it a rinse. Plunge it into a large saucepan of boiling water and stir for 1 minute. Drain and set the spinach aside. Then grind your white toasted sesame into what I term a "rough powder" - a little finer than breadcrumbs but not too much. Once you've ground your toasted sesame, add mirin, soy sauce and some sugar and mix into a paste. Then, squeeze out your spinach - do this two or three times to remove as much liquid as you can - and mix together with the sesame paste and you're finished!
I often make this to eat with rice as a light lunch or supper. You can of course prepare it as one of a number of small dishes for a bigger meal as well. Either way, if you make this, I know you'll find it to be a delicious was of eating your spinach.
If you would like to try this dish and find out just how delicious it is, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Japanese Sesame with Spinach or by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX
(PS: Don't throw the spinach water away - your pot plants will love it.)
(makes 2 servings as a vegetable side dish or starter)
200g / 7 oz fresh baby spinach
2 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp mirin
some extra toasted white sesame seeds for topping
rinse the spinach well
bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. blanch the spinach for 1 min and then drain
to make the sesame sauce:
grind the toasted white sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar to a rough powder
add the sugar, mirin & soy sauce and mix well into a loose paste
squeeze the excess water from the spinach. (be careful as the spinach might still be hot.)
you may need to do this two or three times to remove most of the liquid
next, add the sesame sauce to the spinach and mix well
your Japanese spinach and sesame is now ready to serve