The Japanese side dish of wilted greens with sesame and soy will never go out of fashion. It takes no time to come together and once you’ve mastered the sauce, you can toss it with just about every imaginable leaf going bad in your freezer. Flashing the leaves in boiling water for a few seconds, then draining them and immersing it in an ice bath is the right way to prepare your greens. Keeping the leaves in the ice bath for longer draws out the bitterness, so the resulting leaf is lush green and feels healthy to eat, as opposed to a slimy sludge. This sauce is great with many things, so don’t be alarmed by the amount I’ve asked you to make.
While I’ve used baby spinach, now surprisingly available with many sabzi vendors, you could swap this for regular spinach, kale, chard or young beet leaves.
Baby spinach 200g
Salt 1 tsp
White sesame seeds 1 tbsp, plus a pinch more, lightly roasted in a microwave at 15 second intervals till it fragrant or on a flat tawa
Tahini 1 1/2 tbsp
Soy sauce 1 tbsp
Granulated Sugar 1 tbsp
Mirin 1 tbsp (available at stores selling gourmet products), if you can’t find it simply up the sugar
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add in a teaspoonful of salt.
Add the spinach to the boiling water and stir it. In about thirty seconds, drain the spinach and immerse it in an ice bath. Let it stay there for 10 minutes at least.
For the sauce, in a mortar pestle, pound the toasted sesame seeds together till it begins to stick. Scrape it out into a mixing bowl, and add in the tahini, soy, mirin and granulated sugar. Mix together well. In another clean bowl, add in a few teaspoonfuls of this sauce. Drain the spinach from its water bath and squeeze as much water from it as possible, then add it to the bowl with the sauce and toss it. Sprinkle over a few more sesame seeds and serve.