Behold our new crush: gomashio, a simple mix of sesame seeds and salt mostly used in Japan and Korea. The unhulled sesame seeds are toasted in a dry pan, then crushed with fine sea salt traditionally in a suribachi (Japanese mortar and pestle) or non-traditionally in a speedy electric spice grinder or food processor.
Chances are you’ve been teased by this mysterious condiment in a favorite sushi roll or sunomono salad, the delicious little Japanese concoction of wafer-thin cukes and tangy rice vinaigrette. One can instantly name the distinctive flavor of sesame—and yet there’s an added complexity that toasted seeds or sesame oil don’t seem to produce solo.
Gomashio provides a healthier way to season your fare because for every cup of sesame seeds, there are but 2 teensy teaspoons of salt. So a pinch here and there adds a wallop of yum without all the health compromising effects of sodium. Not to mention the bone-boosting quantities of calcium in these nutty little wonders. Sprinkle on steamed greens, rice or fresh fruit drizzled with lime juice.
1 cup unhulled sesame seeds (black or white or a mix of both)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, or more to taste
Toast the seeds over medium heat until fragrant and golden, stirring occasionally. Once cooled, use a mortar and pestle to crush the seeds with the salt.
Store in a jar with tight-fitting lid for up to 2 weeks.
Diva confession: Take a trip without leaving the country at your local Asian supermarket, where exotic treats abound. Stock up on every sort of noodle that’s been artfully twisted ‘round a pair of chopsticks, pounce upon truly plucky pickles—mango, pineapple, plum and more. Far East of olive, canola and safflower, dare to drizzle spicy garlic-chili or toasted sesame oils. Shop chopsticks, teapots or bamboo steamers. Create a fun, one-of-a-kind gift with a signature recipe wrapped up in kitschy Chinese takeout containers.