Bok Choy, Mizuna, Arugula or Spinach In Black Sesame Seed Dressing

by Chef Hiroko Shimbo Boiled Asian greens served with a black sesame seed dressing

Yield: Makes 2 to 3 servings as a side dish



  • 7 ounces green leaf vegetables rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 5 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup dashi (fish stock)


  1. Gather all the stem parts of the vegetables in one hand and slip a rubber band over the bottom part of the stems, so that all the vegetables are held together in one bunch. Alternatively, tie the bunch with cotton kitchen string.
  2. Bring plenty of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add some salt and simmer the vegetables until firmly cooked, about 2 minutes. To do this, first place the tied stem part in the boiling water, holding the leafy top part with tongs or a pair of cooking chopsticks. After counting to about 30, plunge the leafy part into the water and cook the vegetables for the remaining 1 1/2 minutes.
  3. Remove the vegetables from the water and cool under running cold tap water. When the vegetables are cooled, squeeze firmly to remove excess water.
  4. In a medium bowl combine 1 teaspoon shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) and 2 tablespoons dashi. Marinate the vegetables in the mixture and set aside.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add the sesame seeds and toast until the seeds are plump, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Transfer the sesame seeds to a Japanese suribachi mortar or food processor and process while hot until the color becomes gray and releases a fragrant aroma.
  7. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons dashi, 1 to 2 teaspoons shoyu, and sugar to the sesame seeds in the suribachi and blend. (If using a food processor, transfer the processed sesame seeds into a bowl and combine in the bowl with the shoyu, dashi and sugar.)
  8. Remove the vegetables from the marinade, squeeze firmly to remove excess water. Cut the vegetables into 2-inch lengths. Dress the vegetables with the sesame dressing. Serve the salad in a communal medium-sized bowl or individual small bowls.


This segment appears in show #2807. Recipe reprinted from The Japanese Kitchen, Harvard Common Press 2002 © 1997 Hiroko Shimbo Used with permission
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