Gomaae | Japanese Sesame Dressing

I’m the only one at home that likes cauliflower.  Why is that?  Is cauliflower THAT unpopular?

Growing up, I ate this regularly, probably as often as I ate broccoli, green beans, snow peas, eggplant, corn, asparagus, artichoke and all kinds of other vegetables.  My mom was great at making sure we had plenty of veggies at dinner. Maybe I was just a weird kid because I loved so many vegetables?

Bebe Dada and Big Onechan no longer complain about eating salad regularly at dinner, and Big Onechan actually claims to enjoy them now, but they are still limited in the vegetables that they like, which is why I find ways to sneak them into many of my dishes. Bebe Dada is a bit more open to eating different vegetables but it wasn’t the case when I made cauliflower gomaae.

I don’t buy cauliflower often since I’m the only one that eats it, but when I do, I always steam 1/2 of it, throw it in the food processor and then hide it in a few family favorites such as meat sauce spaghetti and chicken curry. No one ever notices, and my secret is still safe since they don’t read my blog. :P

The other 1/2 of the cauliflower I eat all by myself, usually steamed, raw, or baked.  On this night, I decided to make gomaae because I had a craving for this Japanese vegetable side dish that my mom used to make for us as an alternative to plain, steamed cauliflower.

Very simply, gomaae is a sesame dressing made of ground sesame seeds and a few simple flavor enhancers: soy sauce, sugar and sweet sake. When I was growing up, my mom made gomaae using so many different vegetables and it was a great way to spruce-up leftover veggies too.  Some of the vegetables that my mom used for gomaae include:

  • green beans
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • bean sprouts

Cauliflower Gomaae

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons roasted white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tablespoon sugar, to suite your palate
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (sweet sake)

1)  Cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces, then boil or steam for 10 minutes.

2) Using a suribachi or Japanese grinding bowl, i.e. mortar and wooden pestle, ground the roasted sesame seeds until the seeds are a rough powder.

3) In a separate bowl, mix together shoyu, mirin, and sugar. I recommend adding a little sugar at a time. I don’t like gomaae when it is too sweet and only added a little over 1/2 tablespoon. Add the seasoning mixture to the suribachi and mix with the ground sesame seeds.

4) In a large bowl, toss steamed cauliflower and gomaae dressing and voilà! Cauliflower gomaae!

Personally, I enjoyed this gomaae dressing with the steamed cauliflower, and it brought back good childhood memories. Bebe Dada ate a few of them, but then claimed that it made his stomach hurt. Uh, OK… This made me giggle and smile because I used to tell my mom that a food that I didn’t like gave me stomach aches too, just so I wouldn’t have to eat it!  :) Next time, I’ll make gomaae using broccoli or green beans. These are veggies that are Bebe Dada and Big Onechan friendly.

Jya mata-ne! (Until next time!)

bebe mama

21 thoughts on “Gomaae | Japanese Sesame Dressing

  1. Judy, this dressing sounds so good! I bet it would be good even spooned over salad. But sadly, I do not currently have a mortar and pestle. It’s one of my things to get when I have a bigger kitchen.

  2. Judy, I think I’ve had this sesame dressing at our local Japanese restaurant and now I know what it’s called! :-)

    I used to be indifferent about cauliflower until I started roasting it. Now it’s one of my favorites. How clever of you to hide it in your other dishes! :-)

  3. Lovely recipe, love cauliflower too, but many people I know don’t…maybe the smell and strong flavor? Thanks for the recipe, which I eat in japanese restaurants, but never thought of making it mysef!

  4. I love Cauliflower and your sesame dressing looks really tasty. I bet the dressing tastes good with just about anything! Your mom did an awesome job of providing vegetable to your family. My son loves broccoli and I’m a firm believer of introducing vegetables early and often. They eventually grow to like it!

  5. I LOVE this dressing. I think I’ve had it in a restaurant. I don’t have a suribachi though. Do you think I could use a food processor?

    I also love cauliflower, but no one else in my family does. I tried sneaking it into mashed potatoes once early in my marriage, and my husband could tell and wouldn’t eat it! Grrrrr…. I sometimes puree it and sneak it into my son’s food though. I have hopes that my son might eat it with the gomae though — it looks so good!

    Thanks about the comment on my blog! Lol about the profiteroles. I’m sure you’ll have so much fun with your daughter doing crafty/cooking things with her when she’s older! :)

    • Good question. I think if the sesame is ground in a food processor, it might not be as fine as it would be had you used a suribachi, but sometimes I prefer to have larger sesame seeds for texture. The one benefit of the finely ground sesame is that it provides a deeper, roasted, sesame flavor. If you try it using the food processor, let me know how it turns out. :)

  6. Judy – I can smell the aroma of sesame seeds just by reading your post. One of my family’s favorite side dishes is blanched broccoli seasoned with sesame oil and sesame seeds as well as garlic and salt. But I am going to try your sauce instead next time. It sounds so delicious!

  7. What a lovely way to dress cauliflower. This is my first visit to your blog. I’ve spent some time reading your earlier posts and must tell you how much I’ve enjoyed my visit here. I love your recipes and will be back often. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  8. I’ll have to give this a try. I just returned from Japan and bought two bottles of goma dare with me. I use it more as a sauce or dressing for vegetables and meats.

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