hourensou no goma-ae

200 g spinach (best to use those in a bunch, not loose leaves) 3 tbsp white sesame seeds 1/2 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp shoyu 2 tbsp dashi
This simple, homely recipe of spinach in a sesame dressing is one of my favourite Japanese dishes. I could eat this every day! The Japanese mortar and pestle (suribachi and surikogi) works most effectively but you can also use a food processor to make the dressing. 1. Toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until they start to pop. Let them cool down before transferring to a Japanese mortar and pestle and grind them into tiny bits. 2. Add all seasoning to the sesame seed paste and give them a light grinding until the dressing looks creamy but it should still have some bits in it. 3. Make a cross-incision on the bottom of the spinach stalks if they are thick. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Holding the spinach upright by the leaves, add the stalk ends to the water first. After about 30 seconds or so, release and let everything cook in the boiling water. This should take no more than 2 minutes. 4. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. 5. Gather up the spinach and squeeze out excess water with your hands. 6. Chop spinach up into 4 - 5 cm lengths. 7. Add to the dressing and toss well to mix.