Anyone who knows my mom, Yoko, knows she can cook. Her Japanese beer beef stew, crab cream croquettes, chirashi, and spring rolls are some of my absolute favorites. She sets the bar ridiculously high that, because of her, I’m often disappointed when I eat out at Japanese restaurants.
Recently my mom sent me this simple recipe for sesame dressing. She suggested mixing it with steamed broccoli, but you could also use it as a dip for sliced cucumbers, or as a dressing for a simple green salad or tofu salad. I like it with the broccoli, though, because the sweet, slightly tangy dressing gets caught in the florets and goes great with the crunchy texture. Did I mention the kick of wasabi? Yes, it has a nice punch. You can also vary it by substituting the wasabi for karashi (Japanese hot mustard) or even miso. If you don’t like it spicy, you could omit the wasabi altogether and it will still be delicious.
The ingredients are few, but one thing you need to have is a suribachi and surikogi (Japanese mortar and pestle). This might work in a small food processor, but mine wiped out recently so I can’t give it a whirl. Maybe even a coffee grinder will pulverize the sesame seeds, which you could then transfer to another bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients. If you try either method, let me know if it works!
Yoko’s Sesame Dressing
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (I used Best Foods)
1 tsp. wasabi (adjust this according to your preference)
Grind the sesame seeds in the suribachi well. They might get stuck in between the grooves, but don’t worry about trying to get them out. Proceed by adding the sugar and vinegar and grind into a paste. Finally add the mayonnaise and wasabi and mix until incorporated well.
If you are using broccoli, cut florets and stem and steam for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before mixing in the dressing or it will turn watery. Top with ground sesame, if you like, and serve immediately.