This aromatic bean and sesame sauce transforms ordinary string beans into an unusual side dish or salad. The sauce is delicious with fresh-cooked asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower, too.
Wash and trim the string beans. Bring salted water to a rapid boil and cook the beans in it for 3–4 minutes. They should be bright green and crisp. Drain them and let them cool naturally before cutting them into
Mix the bean paste, sugar and rice wine together in a small saucepan. Heat this mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has melted and the sauce is satiny. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool while preparing the sesame seeds.
In a heavy skillet, dry roast the sesame seeds over medium heat ( for details). Transfer the seeds while still warm to a suribachi (mortar and pestle for details) and grind them to a smooth paste. If using a blender or food processor to grind the sesame seeds, you may have to double or triple the amount of seeds to have sufficient volume to engage the blades of your machine. (Store excess in a tightly sealed jar and refrigerate.) Add the bean paste sauce to the sesame paste and blend thoroughly to make a thick, smooth, aromatic sauce.
Toss the string beans in the sauce lightly just before serving. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
© 1986 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.