WCC#8 – Foreign – Japan-o-philia
She says she is going to cook Indian food (which I love), so I focused on another of my favorite foreign cuisines, Japanese food.
A bunch of lovely green beans from my weekly organic veggie delivery seemed to be an obvious choice for Japanese Green Beans with Sesame.
There is also cucumber salad with black sesame (just cucumber, sesame, a drop of rice vinegar and a drop of soy sauce), a ball of wasabi, and some pickled cabbage (bought at an Asian store).
Of course we had to have sake with our meal. A platter of shake sashimi (thinly sliced raw salmon), garnished with cucumber flowerettes, rounded out a lovely, tasty and healthy dinner for two.
Before I provide you with the recipe for the green beans, which comes from the yellow book on Asian cuisine below, may I show off a few of my cookbooks featuring the Japanese cuisine. (I am still waiting for Cafe Japan by Emi Kazuko to be delivered to me…)
Clockwise, starting with Cool Tools – a book about Japanese cooking utensils; Hideo Dekuras wonderful book „Sashimi“; a German book on Asian food with a good chapter on Japanese cooking; center: Hirohisa Koyama, German edition of Saveurs du Japon; below a small booklet on sushi making; a German edition of a Periplus World Cookbook – The Food of Japan; a Time-Life book on the cuisine of Japan; and the German edition of Emi Kazukos Masterclass in Japanese Cooking.
Usually, green beans are cooked very long because of the phasin they contain, so I wasn’t too sure about this preparation method. I did cook my beans a tad longer than the original recipe requires (my times are given below), but I am still a bit uncomfortable about it – so to be on the safe side, I would try yard-long beans instead of common green beans, if you want to reproduce this dish. If you don’t eat lots of those beans, undercooking will probably not hurt you, though.
My husband took the time to grind the sesame paste in our heavy-duty mortar, then adding the ginger and grinding again, and the result was great. The combination of crisp beans and the savory, nutty marinade is delicious.
Green Beans in Sesame Dressing (Ingen no goma-ae)
- 500 g tender green beans
- 2 tablespoons white sesame – preferably large Japanese sesame
- 5 cm / 2 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Japanese soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin, or sake
- 3 teaspoons sugar (I used less)
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, to serve
Cook beans in hot salted water until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes, and plunge into ice water immediately. Drain, pat dry.
Roast 2 tablespoons of sesame in a dry skillet without added oil, until golden brown. Grind to a paste in a mortar, then add ginger, soy, mirin and sugar. Combine beans and marinade and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Arrange on a platter, sprinkle with sesame seeds.