My 20 years old Suribachi mortar and Surikogi pestle rest at the hardest-to-reach location in my kitchen; high up on the shelf. They are brought down and kept on the stainless steel working table when summer time arrives. I tend to use them frequently to prepare sauces/dressings for my simple summer dishes.
If you are not familiar with Suribachi and Surikogi refer to page 17, The Japanese Kitchen. They are Japanese grinding instruments, powered by manpower. I will come back to them in my next post.
Dirty-Looking Delicious Dandelion Salad is one of the dishes which I enjoy preparing with Suribachi and Surikogi. The Japanese name of the dish is (Dandelion) Goma-Yogoshi. Direct translation is ‘(vegetables), tossed with ground, moist, flavored sesame seeds dressing, presenting dirty appearance on the surface of the vegetables’. Dandelion replaces kale, Swiss chard, spinach, mizuna, collard green….in my kitchen. I will try this dressing with avocado sometime soon. Sounds like a good combination.
Here are step-by-step preparations. If you can find the Japanese sesame seeds, use them. They are more plump and tastier than the other varieties.
7 ounce dandelion leaves
2 tablespoons Japanese white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons Japanese black sesame seeds
1 to 2 teaspoons white sesame paste
1 teaspoon mirin
½ teaspoon and additional shoyu
Squeeze of lemon juice
Cook the dandelion leaves in salt added boiling water for about 2 minutes or until it is firmly cooked. Plunge them in a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes to cool them quickly.
Drain and tightly squeeze the leaves to remove excess water. Drop ¼ teaspoon shoyu over the squeezed leaves and massage them. Cut the leaves into about 2-inch long pieces.
Heat a small skillet. Add the sesame seeds and toast them over medium-low heat until they are plump and fully warmed up. Transfer the seeds to a Suribachi mortar and grind them with a Surikogi pestle. After 2 to 3 minutes or so of grinding add the sesame paste, mirin and shoyu to the Suribachi mortar; continue grinding until all is incorporated. At this stage the dressing looks quite dry. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons dashi and lemon juice to taste. Add the dandelion and toss it with the dressing.