You might feel “strange” or even “modern” when you hear that I use a well-know Middle Eastern food – Tahini in Japanese cooking.
In fact, roasted sesame seed paste is called “Neri Goma” and is commonly used in Japan. Apparently Neri Goma has a nuttier flavour than Tahini as sesame seeds for Neri Goma are roasted longer than for Tahini…. Well.., from my point of view (taste), they taste pretty much the same.
We often use Neri Goma to make Sesame Dressing. This dressing is very versatile and matches with both vegetables and most meats proteins (beef, chicken, pork and tofu). It can also be used as a dipping sauce for Japanese Hot Pot (Nabe). The bonus of my recipe is the measurement – very easy to remember!
Middle East and Japan might be far away, but I like the fact we enjoy the same food in spite of the distance.
1 Tablespoon of Tahini (hulled)
1 glove of Garlic – minced
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon of White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Dark Sugar
½ Teaspoon of Sesame Oil
Place tahini in a bowl. Using a whisk, stir all other ingredients one by one into the tahini. Mix them very well until the dressing becomes smooth.
Koji is a grain (such as rice, soybeans and barley) that is inoculated and propagated with the Koji culture, which is a microbe. It is natural and used to make common Japanese ingredients such as soy sauce, miso and mirin etc….
Shio Koji is a mixture of Koji, Salt (Shio in Japanese) and water and is a very versatile seasoning. My mother introduced Shio Koji to me as a “current trend” in Japan several years ago. Since then, Shio Koji has been my trustworthy partner in the kitchen. When I feel something is missing, it is the time when Shio Koji comes up. Taste of Shio Koji itself is very salty and strong, however, when you use it as a seasoning, it brings the dish to the next level. I feel, somehow, Shio Koji helps other ingredients to produce the own umami.
I added it into my yogurt dressing this time. I think that Shio Koji smoothes the flavour by cutting the harshness of plain yogurt and lemon juice. I found Shio Koji in my local Japanese food store in Subiaco if you would like to try it out.
Ingredients (Serving 4)
5 small Beetroots (or 4 big ones)
1 Carrot – shredded
1 Tomato – roughly chopped
1 Red Capsicum – rough chopped
½ Onion – thinly sliced
4 Tablespoons of Plain Yogurt
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
½ Tablespoon of Shio Koji
1 clove of Garlic -finely chopped
½ Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
- Roast Beetroots – Pre-heat oven to 230 ◦C. Wrap beetroots with alfoil individually and place them into the oven. Bake them for 45 minutes or until they are cooked.
- While roasting the beetroots, chop all of the salad ingredients and place them into a large bowl. For dressing, mix all ingredients except oregano in a small bowl.
- Once the beet rots are cooked, remove them from the oven. Peel the skin off and cut them into 2cm cubes. Add them into the chopped salad.
- Dress the salad with the dressing. Sprinkle the oregano on top to serve.
Note: I found this website explains more about Koji if you are interested.
Imagine the richness of balsamic vinegar and the umami of soy sauce absorbed into hot sweet roasted vegetables with the freshness of raw vegetables in your month…. This salad tastes exactly like that!
For Roasted Vegetables
3 Potatoes – peeled and cut into 3cm chunks
1 Purple Skinned Sweet Potato – cut into 3cm chunks (keep the skin on)
3 Carrots – peeled and cut into 6cm long matchsticks
1 Red Capsicum – cut into strips
2 Flat Mushrooms – cut into 8 pieces
3 + 1 Tablespoons of Olive Oil to drizzle
2 of ½ Teaspoon of Rosemary Leaves
For Non-Roasted Vegetables
1 Tomato – finely chopped
1 Onion – thinly sliced
100g of Spinach Leaves
1 clove of Garlic – finely chopped
6 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
A pinch of Salt
- Preheat oven to 200 ◦C.
- Place potato and sweet potato in a small pot and cover with cold water. Boil them for about 3 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked (but still hard). Drain the potatoes.
- Place the potato, sweet potato and carrot into a large baking tray in single layer. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle ½ teaspoon of rosemary leaves over them. Roast them for 20 minutes.
- Place red capsicum and mushroom into a medium sized baking tray in single layer. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spring ½ teaspoon of rosemary leaves over them.
- After 20 minutes roasting (Method 3), turn the potatoes and carrot. Place the capsicum and mushroom tray into the oven and roast the vegetables on both trays for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make dressing. Mix all ingredients of the dressing. Put aside.
- Place tomato, onion and spinach leaves in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the bowl and dress them with the dressing. Serve it while it is warm.
A light and fresh salad with a little bit of kick! Thai flavor can be easily made from the ingredients available in your pantry.
1 Red Chili – finely chopped (remove the seeds if you prefer the salad mild)
2 cloves of Garlic – finely chopped
1cm cube of Ginger – finely chopped
1 Coriander Root – finely chopped
1 lemon – juice
5 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce
4 Tablespoons of White Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
100g Rocket Leaves
2 Carrots – grated
80g of Bean Sprouts
½ Onion – sliced
2 Tomatoes – roughly chopped
½ Red Capsicum – roughly chopped
1 large brunch of Coriander – roughly chopped including the stem
Very Moist Chicken or sliced Beef Steak
For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
For the salad, place each ingredient beautifully in layers in a salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing just before serving. As an option of a decent sized meal, top with Very Moist Chicken or sliced beef steak.