Today’s recipe, Spinach Kuro Goma-ae, is a counterpart of the Chrysanthemum Leaves Goma-ae that I posted a long time ago. Instead of the white sesame seeds that are used for chrysanthemum, I used black sesame seeds and spinach.
I think that the black sesame seeds have more pungent and richer flavour than the white sesame seeds. When you use them in a large quantity like in Goma-ae (Sweet Sesame Dressing), you can tell the difference between the flavours.
But people do not use the black sesame dressing in the dish as often as the white sesame dressing, perhaps due to the colour of the sesame.
Maybe because of this, the food dressed in white sesame is called Goma-ae (meaning dressed in sesame seeds) instead of calling it Shiro Goma-ae to clarify that it is made with white (= ‘shiro‘) sesame seeds.
The foods dressed in black sesame seeds have been called Kuro Goma-ae (黒胡麻和え) to distinguish them from the white sesame dressing. ‘Kuro’ (黒) is black in Japanese, as you probably guessed.
About Black, White and Golden Sesame Seeds
You may think that white sesame seeds are made from black sesame seeds by removing the black outer skin. But that’s not the case. Black sesame and white sesame are different species.
In fact, there are also golden sesame seeds that are the golden-brown colour. Because of the colour, the golden sesame is also called brown sesame.
In terms of market share, white sesame seeds are by far the most commonly available. They are followed by black sesame and then golden sesame. I have never tried golden sesame, so I don’t know the flavour difference.
All three kinds of sesame seeds have a very similar nutritional profile. About 50% of sesame seed is fat (are you surprised? I was) but it is mainly unsaturated fat. About 20% is protein and 30% is vitamins, fibre and minerals. So, sesame seeds are good for you.
Although the nutritional profile is similar, golden sesame contains a little more fat than the others. The flavour and fragrances are also superior, and therefore the golden sesame is more expensive than black and white sesame. Black sesame contains the least fat. Sesame oil is mainly produced from white sesame seeds.
Sesame seeds are used widely in Japanese food. The simplest way of using them is sprinkling them over rice. You have probably seen some sushi rolls with sesame seeds coating the rolls. In the case of Osekihan, you are meant to sprinkle roasted black sesame seeds over the red rice.
What in my Spinach Kuro Goma-ae
The spinach needs to be blanched with a pinch of salt.
- Spinach (English spinach)
- A pinch of salt
Kuro Goma-ae Dressing
- Roasted black sesame seeds
- Soy sauce
Instead of spinach, you can use other green vegetables such as beans, chrysanthemum leaves, and broccoli. You can even use okra.
The dressing ingredients are basically the same as the Goma-ae that was described in the recipe Chrysanthemum Leaves Goma-ae. I just replaced white sesame with black sesame. It is a slightly sweet dressing.
How to make Spinach Kuro Goma-ae
- Dry roast the black sesame seeds.
- Transfer to a mortar and grind the sesame seeds, then mix in the rest of the Kuro Goma-ae Dressing ingredients.
- Blanch spinach in a pot with a pinch of salt.
- Drain and rinse under cold running water.
- Cut the spinach into 5cm / 2″ long pieces. Squeeze the water out of the spinach as much as possible.
- Mix the spinach with the sesame dressing.
Even if you are using roasted sesame seeds, I recommend roasting them to bring out the aroma of the black sesame.
You need to squeeze the water out of the blanched spinach, otherwise the dressing becomes watery and there will be insufficient flavour.
Just like Chrysanthemum Leaves Goma-ae, Spinach Kuro Goma-ae is a simple and easy dish to make. The dressing is quite tasty.
Today’s recipe Spinach Kuro Goma-ae is a pure vegetarian dish and very quick to make. The dressing has the full flavour of black sesame. It is a counterpart of the Chrysanthemum Leaves Goma-ae recipe that I posted a long time ago.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
- 200g / 7.1oz spinach
- A pinch of salt
Put the sesame seeds in a frying pan without oil and dry roast them over medium heat for 2-3 minutes (note 1).
Put the sesame seeds in a mortar and grind them until majority of seeds are ground.
Add the remaining Kuro Goma-ae Dressing ingredients to the sesame and mix well.
Fill a large pot with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring it to a boil.
Submerge the bottom part of the spinach into the boiling water and keep the leaves out of the water for about 15 seconds, then push the leaves into the water. Boil for 30 seconds or so, until the stems become soft.
Drain and rinse the spinach under cold running water, ensuring that dirt near the clusters is cleaned off.
Take a few stems of spinach at a time, squeezing the water out as much as you can and place them on a cutting board horizontally. Repeat for the rest of the spinach.
Trim off the roots by cutting just above the pink part. This will remove each leaf from the cluster.
Cut the spinach into 5cm / 2" long pieces.
Take each 5cm / 2" bunch, squeeze the residual water out and transfer it to the mortar (note 2).
Mix well until all the spinach pieces are coated in the dressing. Transfer to serving bowls.
1. If you cannot find roasted sesame seeds, you can use raw sesame seeds. If using raw sesame seeds, you need to dry roast them for 10-15 minutes.
2. If your mortar is small and the spinach cannot fit in, transfer the dressing to a bowl and mix the spinach and the dressing in the bowl.
3. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 66g calories: 69kcal fat: 3.6g (6%) saturated fat: 0.5g (3%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 1.6g monounsaturated fat: 1.3g cholesterol: 0mg (0%) sodium: 293mg (12%) potassium: 330mg (9%) carbohydrates: 7.5g (3%) dietary fibre: 2.1g (8%) sugar: 3.9g protein: 3g vitamin a: 904% vitamin c: 23% calcium: 9.3% iron: 14%