In some northern areas of Japan, walnuts are used instead of sesame seeds to make a thick, rich paste for dressing cooked vegetables. Traditionally, carrots and konnyaku (a pearly-toned gelatinous cake made from a tuber vegetable) are sliced in extra fine julienne strips, blanched for a minute or so, and drained before being tossed in the dark walnut paste. Try this paste too as a dip for raw celery and cucumber sticks.
Dry roast the walnut meats for 30–40 seconds over high heat. Crush the walnuts and grind them fine in a suribachi or blender. Add the sugar and continue to grind and crush until the mixture resembles a fine powder. Add the soy sauce and continue to blend to a very thick, rather sticky paste. It will keep well for several days if covered and refrigerated.
© 1986 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.