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Spinach Gomaae – Recipe



Along with sushi, agedashi tofu and chicken yakitori, this tasty sesame spinach salad is always on our order when we go out for Japanese in the big city.  It took 2 attempts, but I finally got the dressing right. 

I can’t wait for spring…spinach fresh from the garden.

**Note added Mar 3, 2011:  I recently substituted 1 tablespoon mirin for the 2 tablespoons of sake, and discovered an even more authentic flavour.  My approach has always been ùse what you`ve got, so I leave you with options.

Spinach Gomaae

Yield:  4 small servings

Spinach, picked over, washed and stems trimmed to 2-3” 1 bunch
Sesame Seeds, roasted ¼ C 60 ml
Sugar 3 t 15 ml
Soya Sauce 1½ T 25 ml
Sake (or Mirin) 2 T (1 T) 30 ml (15ml)

lb=pound      C=cup       g=grams     t=teaspoon
T=tablespoon       ml=millilitres     TT=to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.   Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice.

Add the spinach to the boiling and cook for 1 minute.  Quickly remove the leaves with tongs and immerse them in the ice water to halt the cooking and preserve the bright green colour.  Once cool, gently roll the spinach in a clean towel.  Squeeze gently and set aside to dry.

Grind the sesame seeds to a paste in a spice/coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.  Dissolve the sugar in 1 tablespoon of very hot water.  In a small bowl, combine the sesame paste, sugar, soya sauce and sake.

Cut the spinach into 2” lengths.  To serve, pile a small amount of spinach on the plate and drizzle with the sesame dressing.  Garnish with sesame seeds or Gomashio.

Leftover dressing will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days.


  • When you salt water for cooking, it should taste salty.
  • I tried this with black sesame seeds.  It tastes the same, but the colour, is as you’d expect, muddy.