The Japanese diet is well known for its well balanced and variety of food they eat at a meal. I would like to share one of the healthy side dish that I often eat, Goma Ae, which is green beans with sesame.
I have shared many Japanese delicious dishes such as Okonomiyaki, Tonakatsu, Tenpura, Katsudon, Udon, Ramen etc. but Japanese people don’t eat those high carbohydrate and high calorie deep fried foods all the time. Usually Japanese people eat a bowl of rice, a main dish (often fish), and a few small side dishes. The portion sizes are usually quite small. Goma Ae is a popular vegetable side dish that Japanese people often cook at home.
Goma ae is a great way to eat more vegetables. The roasted sesames enhance the vegetable’s umami flavour and gives more nutrients to any vegetable dishes, which satisfy our taste palates. Goma Ae is versatile because once you master the basic Goma ae, you can adopt it to many different vegetables. Commonly used vegetables for goma ae in Japan are spinach and green beans, but you can use cabbage, carrots, and asparagus, etc., as well.
There are many types of Sesame seed products available in Japan, such as white, black, roasted white, roasted Black, and sesame seed pastes. Each of those sesame seed products can be used for making Goma ae, and each create a different flavour and texture. Usually the roasted white sesame seeds are used for goma ae because white sesame seeds contain more fat than black sesame.
I used a store bought already roasted white sesame seeds because roasted white sesame seeds has more flavour and fragrance. It is convenient if you can get roasted sesame seeds but I have not found any super markets in Australia that have already roasted white sesame seeds but Japanese grocery store had them. You can also roast the sesame seeds at home. In Japan, there is a special pan to roast the sesame seeds, but outside of Japan, you can use a small sauce pan or small frying pan. Place the sesame seeds in a small sauce pan over low to medium heat to roast by stirring with a wooden spatula. When the heat has transmitted to the sesame seeds, keep roasting by shaking the pan back and forward over the low heat constantly for 10-15 minutes or until it start to fragrance.
You can use this same goma mixture for any other vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, carrots, bokchoy etc. I used green beans because I found it at the local market on the weekend. Hope you enjoy Goma Ae.
Goma Ae Green beans
200 g( 2 cups) of Green beans
2 tbs roasted white sesame seeds
1 tbs smooth natural peanut butter
1/2 tbs sugar
1/2 tbs soy sauce
Trim the ends of the green beans and parboil the green beans for 2minutes.
Drain the water and cool the cooked green beans under the running water to avoid it being over cooked.
Grind the sesame seeds, peanut butter, sugar, and soy sauce in a sesame seed grinder bowl.
Add the cooked green beans and toss together until the sesame mixture coats the green beans well.
Serve in a small bowl.