Asparagus with black sesame sauce (asparagasu no gomayogoshi)

(from koshka’s recipe box)

You can make this sesame sauce in advance and store it, well covered for up to a week in the refrigerator.

To make a longer keeping sesame paste, grind the sesame seeds even more, add sugar and a bit of salt (about 1 Tbs. of sugar and 1/8th tsp. of salt per 3 Tbs. of sesame seed). Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator. This is great on toast, and you can just add a bit of mirin and soy sauce and optionally dashi stock to make a sesame paste on the spot.


Categories: Japanese, salad, vegetables


  • * About 20 medium-thick asparagus stalks
  • * 3 Tbs. black sesame seeds
  • * 1 Tbs. sugar
  • * 2 tsp. mirin
  • * 2 Tbs. soy sauce


  1. Trim the hard woody part off the base of the asparagus stalks. Cut the stalks in approximately 2 inch / 5 cm long pieces.

  2. Bring a pan of slightly salted water to boil. Put in the asparagus stalk pieces in first, reserving the tips. Cook until bright green and still slightly crisp, a couple of minutes. Add the reserved asparagus tips and cook an additional couple of minutes. Drain, and blanch briefly in cold water. Drain well and set aside.

  3. Roast the sesame seeds in a small dry frying pan over medium-high heat until the seeds start to pop. Immediately remove and put in the suribachi or mortar. Leave a couple of minutes to let cool.

  4. Grind the sesame seeds. They will gradually get powdery, and will smell fantastic. Add the sugar, and continue grinding. Continue grinding until the sugar has disappeared into the sesame powder, and the whole looks quite grey. Add the mirin and soy sauce, and grind to a paste.

  5. Mix the sesame sauce with the asparagus. You may want to take a bit of care in arranging the asparagus attractively, since if you just dump it in a plate it may look a bit well, dirty. A white plate or bowl works best for this.

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