A while back I heard a quote from Hippocrates “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” This resonated with me so profoundly that I find myself thinking it almost every time I begin preparing food for my family. With so many preservatives, hormones and….well, junk in the food we can buy off the shelf, I have begun a journey of trying to duplicate some of my favorite items. My goal? To achieve the same (or better) flavor, and skip the junk!
The following is a recipe requested of me almost on a weekly basis. Thus, I figured it would be the perfect recipe to introduce myself to you all. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.
Being married to a wonderful (and handsome) Japanese man and having lived in Japan for a few years has afforded me the great privilege of expanding my tastes and recipes. A traditional Japanese meal may have 5 or 6 small servings of a variety of foods, carefully balanced in protein, starch and heavy on the veggies. In many cases, each of those 5 or 6 items may have their own kind of dipping or drizzling sauce. While that, at first, may seem cumbersome, let me assure you that the explosion of palate sensations is well worth the abundance of tiny little dishes that it requires!
Among their favorites is a light and flavorful “Goma Dressing” (“goma”=sesame). It can be drizzled over steamed veggies, a fresh green salad or even a grilled chicken breast. It can also easily cost you $6 for a 4-6oz bottle and come loaded with high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, and several other preservatives and sugars….all of these things I’m quite certain would’ve made Hippocrates sick to his stomach. So, one day I decided it was time for me to have a go of it. Here is what I came up with. (Not to toot my own horn, but I LOVE to tell Japanese people I made it and giggle as they look at me in disbelief!) Enjoy!
Yield: approx 4-5 servings
1/2 cup roasted sesame seeds*
2 1/2 Tbls sesame oil*
1 Tbls white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise (found at most Asian grocery stores. You can use a whipped mayo, but the flavor and texture will not be quite the same)
1Tbls granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk (can substitute plain soy, almond or coconut milk for dairy free options)
*Tahini paste may be substituted for fresh ground seeds and sesame oil but add a little more milk as paste will thicken mixture…and, again, this changes the texture and flavor a bit.
Start by grinding the sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle until they are powdery and fluffy.
Carefully pour ground seeds into a mixing container and add sesame oil. Stir until seeds are wet.
Add remaining ingredients in the order listed (this will keep the vinegar from souring the milk) and stir until well blended.
If mixture is too thick, add more milk (1 Tbls at a time). If too thin, add more mayo or ground seeds. Chill for at least an hour to allow flavors to coagulate.
Store in refrigerator for about 5 days. Mix well before each use.