Spring Challenge Day 25-Gomashio

This is for my brother who really really loves Gomashio!

Gomashio-by Aveline kushi

Adult Gomashio

1 Cup sesame seeds

11/2 -3 Tbsp sea salt

Very Active Adult Gomashio

1 Cup sesame seeds

31/2-4 Tbsap sea salt

Children’s Gomashio

1 Cup sesame seeds

11/2-2 Tbsp sea salt

Wash seeds in a very fine mesh strainer as in preparing rice and let them drain. Any seeds that float to the top while they are being washed should be discarded. Dry-roast the sea salt in a frying pan for a short time. For both sea salt and sesame seeds, stainless steel is lighter, easier to handle, and heats up and cools off more quickly than cast-iron. However, cast-iron cooks more evenly and may be used instead, if desired. Roasting the sea salt releases moisture in the salt and helps to make fluffy gomashio. Roasting also releases a strong chlorine from the salt. The salt is roasted when it becomes shiny.

Roast the sesame seeds after the salt has been roasted, ground, and set aside. Always roast the sesame seeds when they are wet. They will cook more evenly. Dry seeds will burn easily. Use medium heat to roast the seeds. Do not roast too many seeds at once or some will burn, while others will not be roasted enough. Add only enough seeds to cover the bottom of the frying pan. While roasting, push the seeds back and forth in the pan with a rice paddle or wooden spoon. Shaking the pan occasionally will also help to roast seeds evenly and avoid burning. The seeds are done when they crush easily  between the thumb and index finger, about 5-10 minutes. Do not over roast the seeds as they tend to become a little darker from their internal heat after they have been removed from the frying pan. The seeds will also begin to pop and give off a nutty fragrance when done.

Place  the roasted sea salt in a suribachi and grind until it becomes a fine powder and all small lumps are dissolved. Add the hot roasted sesame seeds to the roasted, ground sea salt.  Hot seeds grind more easily and should always be added after the salt has been ground. If seeds are ground firs, they will turn darker when the salt is added. Slowly grind the seeds in an even circular motion with a wooden pestle, making sure to use the grooved sides of the suribachi to grind against instead of the bottom of the bowl. Grind until each seed is half-crushed and thoroughly coated with salt. Do not grind into a powder. If you grind gently, the gomashio will taste sweeter. More powerful or quicker grinding crushes the seeds and makes them saltier to the taste. Allow the gomashio to cool when you have finished grinding and transfer it to an airtight glass or ceramic container to store. If you put warm gomashio into a container, moisture will collect on the top and sides of the jar causing it to spoil quickly. Gomashio will keep fresh for several weeks and may be roasted again if it begins to dry out. I avoid making too much at a time and so prepare it fresh at least once a week.

Variation: For variety, sesame seeds may be prepared with miso, tamari soy sauce, roasted umeboshi plums, roasted powdered kombu or wakame, or shiso leaves. Roasted sesame seeds may also be used a condiment or garnish without salt or other seasoning.

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