Monday, July 6, 2009

Toasted Sesame Seed and Miso Dressing

sesame seed dressing

This dressing is so versatile you can use it as a sauce for grilled chicken, fish, scallops or prawns, for thin slices of pork or beef and toss with blanched green beans, broccoli or cauliflower.

dried_cooked soba

I love pairing this dressing with soba noodles. The noodles and the dressing can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to a week. I love pasta but sometimes I experience fatigue and weakness after eating because of its gluten content so I opt for soba noodles instead.

toasted sesame seeds

Toasting sesame seeds over low heat will bring out the fragrant aroma of the seeds. High heat will burn the seeds quite easily. Instead of a spice grinder or a mini food processor, I am using the Japanese mortar and pestle. The mortar is called suribachi while the pestle is surikogi. The inside of the bowl has a ridged pattern to facilitate grinding. The pestle is made from wood and keeps it from wearing down the ridges in the mortar. They come in different sizes and I have the smallest one. When using the mortar, I always place a cloth underneath as the bottom of the bowl is unglazed. This sirabachi can only grind about ¼ cup of sesame seeds and as you grind the seeds in a circular motion, the seeds transform into a rough and flaky texture. It does take time to grind the seeds with the smallest suribachi though. Actually, with this suribachi this small, I could only grind sesame seeds.

crushed sesame seeds

You can vary this dressing by using a different type of miso such as chickpea, barley or rice miso. You can even use brown rice vinegar instead of just rice vinegar. The type of soy sauce will vary in flavor but I stick with Japanese soy sauce as well as wheat- and gluten-free soy sauce.

miso paste

For an easy salad, I simply tossed the noodles with same blanched vegetables such as asparagus, sugar snap peas and bok choy. The problem with cooked soba noodles is that the stick together if you don’t use it right away. So I rinse them quickly with cold water and drain them very well before adding the dressing and the vegetables.

I also choose to cook some chicken yakitori to go with it. They are usually served as appetizers but with soba noodles, it makes a light and wonderful dish. Hope you like it.


Toasted Sesame Seed and Miso Dressing

Makes about 1/2 cup
  • ¼ cup white sesame seed
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp shiro miso (miso paste)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • ½ tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • shichimi-togarashi (7-spice powder) to taste
To start the dressing, place the sesame seeds into a frying pan. Turn heat to low and toast sesame seeds shaking the pan occasionally until light golden brown. Transfer to plate and allow to cool.

In another bowl, combine the rice vinegar, shoyu, sake, shiro miso, honey, sesame oil and togarashi with a wire whisk.

When the sesame seeds have cooled down transfer to a spice grinder and pulse until coarsely ground. I prefer not to grind the sesame seeds into a powder.

Add the flaked sesame seeds with the other ingredients and whisk until combined. Transfer to a bowl or a jar. Set aside until ready to use. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Stir with a spoon before using.


  1. Great photos and looks delicious too.

  2. We love this kind of cooking! we want to do more of it and create ideas that are exciting in our region of California. So we would do this very idea with some interesting wine vinegar from the this! best, s

  3. This sauce looks great. The recipe tells all. I believe it is good for many dishes. One I will want to try. I love roasted sesame seeds. Thanks.

  4. @ Mary, this is good with almost anything.


Your comments, suggestions, feedback are all welcome.