Rolled Spinach with Pickled Ginger, Sesame & Tamari

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Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

I remember eating this dish at Kuni’s Japanese restaurant in Melbourne back in 1983 – although there it was made with dried bonito flakes on top rather than the pickled ginger I use here. Many Japanese restaurants have it on the menu and I tend to eat it whenever I can. It’s easy to make and it looks good too. Buy medium-leaf spinach as large leaves can be too thick and the small stuff cooks away to nothing. The amount you need really depends on whether the dish is served as a starter or as a salad to accompany a main meal. A bamboo sushi mat is an essential item for the preparation of this dish.


  • 1—1.5kg (2¼–3¼lb) picked spinach; wash really well and remove the stalks Salt
  • 80g (3oz) pickled ginger, either home-made or sushi ginger
  • 4 teaspoons white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 4 teaspoons black sesame seeds, toasted
  • Tamari


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and blanch the spinach in batches, cooking only as much as will fit in the pot comfortably. Put a batch in, bring the water back to the boil and then take the spinach out and plunge it into a bowl of cold water, stirring gently. When all the spinach has been cooked and refreshed, tip it into a colander and drain. Take handfuls of it and squeeze as tightly as you can to remove excess moisture. Gently pull these handfuls apart to loosen the spinach.

Now lay your sushi rolling mat, with the bamboo running from left to right, on a clean cloth and put one-third of the spinach on to it. Form the spinach into a long sausage shape that runs along the middle and parallel to the bamboo. Take the end of the mat nearest you and fold it over the spinach, then roll the whole mat up tightly into a tube and roll it back and forwards to shape the spinach. Unroll the mat and do the same to the rest of the spinach.

Cut each roll of spinach into six sections with a very sharp knife and stand the sections on their ends. Place a small mound of pickled ginger on each, sprinkle with the mixed black and white sesame seeds and season with the tamari.