With the help of a modern food processor, making this aromatic dip is a simple matter. In Japan, sesame seeds were traditionally ground in a mortar called a suribachi, and it took determination and strength to make quantities such as these. This sesame dip is deliciously nutty and aromatic when first made, though it will stay fresh for many weeks if refrigerated. To restore some of the original flavor, should it begin to fade, stir in an extra teaspoon of dark sesame oil.
In a clean, dry skillet, roast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat for 30–40 seconds until they begin to color slightly or a few pop. Shake the pan to keep the seeds in motion. Transfer the roasted seeds immediately to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse-process until all the seeds have been well cracked.
In a small saucepan, combine the light bean paste, rice wine, and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon (the Japanese use a shamoji) until smooth. Place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until glossy. Transfer this mixture to the food processor. Pulse-process to blend well with the cracked sesame seeds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
Add the soy sauce, then the sesame oil, processing each well. With the machine running, dribble the water through the feed tube into the sesame paste. The final sauce should have the consistency of very thick cream.
© 1985 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.