Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Warm Green Bean & Potato Salad with Tuna in a Wasabi Soy Sauce Dressing & Toasted Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are an important ingredient in Japanese cooking which is generally very simple and uses very few herbs or spices. And because the composition of ingredients is very plain it's important to pay attention to detail to get that flavor really out there.
First you've got to toast the sesame seeds in a pan. When they start smoking and popping a bit they are ready - and then you've got to grind them in one of these to really release their aroma and flavor. My grandmother used to hand me the mortar and pestle and ask me to do this while I watched TV.
In the most basic vegetable dishes it's customary to then pour some soy sauce and sugar (brown sugar will do) into the mortar and pestle and mix it all up with the sesame seeds (Goma-Ae) and use this as a dressing for boiled spinach or boiled green beans. Another very basic dressing is made in a similar manner but with the addition of Tofu (Shira-Ae). It's ridiculously simple isn't it?
What I've made today isn't really typically Japanese as I've added some extra elements that aren't normally mixed together. I combined the flavors of Wasabi, Soy sauce and toasted ground sesame seeds together and added some canned tuna (I prefer leftover roasted Sichuan chicken or any type of roasted chicken, but there wasn't any today!).
Warm Green Bean & Potato Salad with Tuna in a Wasabi Soy Sauce Dressing with Toasted Sesame Seeds
4 Medium Sized Potatoes (or as many as you think you can eat)
12 Green Beans
4 Tbsp White Sesame Seeds
4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Wasabi (or however much you dare to use)
Leftover Roast Chicken or Canned Tuna
Step 1: Peel and boil the potatoes until they're cooked and then cut them into bite sized pieces. Do use floury potatoes because this is how potatoes should be in this type of a recipe.
Step 2: While boiling the potatoes, toast the sesame seeds in a pan until they're smoking and popping a bit and then grind them inside a mortar pestle like this one to release its flavor and aroma.
Step 3: Prepare the green beans by snapping off the hard ends and then cut them into bite sized pieces.
Step 4: When the potatoes are done, remove them from the water and then put the green beans in there and parboil them until they turn into that nice bright green. Don't let them get mushy!
Step 5: Put the potatoes, green beans, leftover roast chicken (or tuna) into a bowl and toss with your Wasabi Soy Sauce Dressing and garnish with the toasted ground sesame seeds. If you omit the roast chicken/tuna it's pretty much suitable for vegans.
Note: The basic ratio for Goma-ae is 3:1:1 (Sesame Seeds: Soy Sauce:Sugar).