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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Japanese-Style Ginger Sesame Dressing


On my recent trip to Japan I encountered the most delicious dressing. It was a bit thicker than a vinaigrette, creamy and complex, featuring ginger and sesame prominently in the flavor profile. Almost every restaurant I visited served some version of this dressing and it was included with every prepared salad I bought for train rides and picnics. This is my attempt to recreate it.

I like using this dressing for salads made of sturdy greens and chopped vegetables like shredded carrots, sliced scallions, chopped red bell pepper, and shredded cabbage, alone as a side dish or topped with grilled chicken as a main course. It can also be served as a dip for summer rolls or tossed with cooked buckwheat noodles, bean sprouts, and cilantro leaves.

This recipes yields about a cup and a third of sauce.

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup finely chopped shallot or red onion
¼ cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
2 tablespoons raw honey 
3 tablespoons tamari
¼ cup raw tahini
1 tablespoon fish sauce
6 tablespoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

Add all of the ingredients to a wide-mouth pint-size glass jar or similar container (a 2-cup glass liquid measure also works well) and use an immersion blender to purée until smooth. Alternatively, use a stand blender.

Taste for seasoning. It will be very strongly flavored. Add a splash of water if you wish to thin it out a bit.

Serve immediately or cover the dressing and transfer it to the fridge for future use.

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