This is a standard dish served in almost every home and restaurant throughout Japan. As soon as you taste it, you’ll understand the reason for its wide popularity. Variations on this theme are possible with cooked-but-still-crisp green beans or cooked-until-tender Brussels sprouts.
Remove the stems before washing and patting dry the spinach leaves. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the spinach until it barely wilts. Drain and refresh the spinach under running cold water. Squeeze out excess moisture before chopping the spinach coarsely.
Dry roast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat and transfer them to a suribachi while still warm. Crush the sesame seeds well before adding the sugar. Continue to grind the sesame and sugar until the mixture is quite pasty, then add the soy sauce and blend well. If using a blender or food processor, you may need to double or triple quantities in order to have enough volume to engage the blades of your machine; store excess in a tightly sealed jar and refrigerate.
Toss the chopped spinach in the sesame seed dressing and serve chilled or at room temperature.
© 1986 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.