The green beans are boiled? Yes, boiled. While sauteeing or stir frying vegetables may seem like the easiest and fastest ways to make a delicious side dish, there are times when boiling vegetables can be just as quick and the result can be just as wonderful.
The boiling time is short. The moment the color of the beans deepens to a darker shade of green, they were scooped out and dumped in a bowl of icy water. This stops the cooking immediately to ensure that the green beans retain some crispness.
For the sesame dressing, we use a suribachi (traditional Japanese mortar and pestle) to grind toasted sesame seeds. If you don’t own one, you may use a regular mortar and pestle but the process of turning toasted sesame seeds into a coarse paste may take longer.
Will a mini processor work? Well, it will grind the seeds but unless you can pour liquid ingredients into the processor, you will need to scrape the paste into a bowl to stir in the liquid ingredients. So much flavor (think of the oil from the sesame seeds) will get lost in the transfer.
In the end, it is your decision what to use to grind the sesame seeds. If you go with a food processor, you might want to add a drizzle of sesame seed oil into the dressing to make up for whatever flavor is lost along the way.
After grinding the sesame seeds, rice vinegar, dashi, mirin, soy sauce and sugar are added, and everything is stirred together to complete the dressing.
By the time the dressing is done, the green beans should have cooled completely in the icy bath. Scoop out and dump into the dressing. Then, add thinly sliced onion.
Toss everything together and your side dish of green beans with sesame dressing is ready to be enjoyed.
Green beans with sesame dressing
- 250 grams green beans
- 1 red onion
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dashi
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
Prepare the vegetables
- String the green beans and cut into two-inch lengths.
- Boil water in a pot, add the green beans and cook just until the color deepens.
- Scoop out the green beans and dump into a bowl of iced water. Leave to cool.
- Peel the onion, cut into halves and thinly slice.
Make the sesame dressing
- Place the sesame seeds in a suribachi and grind to a coarse paste.
- Pour in the rice vinegar, dashi, mirin and soy sauce.
- Stir in the sugar and mix until dissolved.
Toss in the vegetables
- Drain the green beans well and add to the dressing.
- Add the sliced onion to the beans and dressing.
- Toss to coat the beans and onion slices with the sesame dressing.
- Transfer the contents of the suribachi to a shallow bowl and serve.