week of January 12, 2016 - From the Recipe Box -

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 6:53 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

Gomashio   *   Sesame salt
© 2016, Susun Weed

Goma = sesame; shio = salt (Japanese).
This condiment is a favorite at the Wise Woman Center.

Sesame seeds are an excellent source of calcium, but only if they are roasted and ground.

I make a pound of gomashio at a time; so feel free to double this recipe, which makes half a pound. I only keep a little out; the rest stays fresh in the freezer for 6-8 weeks.
Gomashio is an ideal salt “substitute,” since seaweed makes it salty, and you can adjust the amount of salt in your own as you wish. Store-bought gomashio is not only expensive, it is way too salty for my taste.

I use gomashio lavishly – tablespoonsful – on rice, salads, cooked vegetables, even breakfast toast ! (So much better for my blood sugar than jam.)

It is easiest to make gomashio if you have a cast iron frying pan. Thin bottom pans heat unevenly and usually burn the sesame seeds. I prefer to grind my gomasio in an electric appliance: preferably a mini-chopper or, failing that, a very strong blender. Traditionally (pre-electricity), gomashio is made with a mortar and a pestle. There are special setups for sale, with a wooden pestle and a grooved-bottom clay bowl mortar, just for making gomashio. But, honestly, to make the quantities of gomashio we eat, we’d have to have an apprentice grinding away all day, every day!

Begin by heating the cast iron pan over a medium flame. When it is hot, add the about an ounce of dried Nereocystis kelp fronds. Roast them, stirring every ten seconds or so, until they are crisp. (Put in a little extra so you can have a snack while making the gomashio.) You can buy this kelp through the mail from harvesters like Ryan Drum. Or just harvest it yourself the next time you are at the ocean. It is also known as bullwhip kelp and is common worldwide.

When the kelp is crunchy and crisp (and delicious, take some out and eat it), push it to the side and add half a pound of hulled sesame seeds to the pan. Raise the heat a tad and roast the sesame seeds. I offset the pan on the burner so the seaweed is not over the heat.

Stir the sesame every minute or so until it begins to pop. Then lower the fire and stir more frequently. As it darkens in color, stir the seaweed in. Keep stirring, as sesame seeds can easily burn.

How dark you go is a very personal preference when making gomashio. I tend to roast it darker (but not so dark as some) in the winter and lighter in the summer.
Now let it cool. . . right there in the pan. It will turn into tahini if ground when hot, so let it cool completely. I often let an entire day go by before grinding my sesame and seaweed into gomashio. To keep the seaweed crisp, I store it in my oven, which has a pilot light and is usually about 110 degrees.

When the sesame and seaweed is cool, put a half-cup of it into your mini-chopper or blender with a little sea salt. How much salt you use in your gomashio is another personal decision. I use very little, since I want to be able to put several tablespoons full on a salad or bowl of rice. I have eaten gomasio so salty I could just sprinkle it on.

Do not fill either device full. Most mini-choppers can be filled 2/3  or even ¾ full. Blenders are more problematic. Some blenders can make gomashio; some can’t. Grind only a little at a time, adding more roasted seeds and a little salt if you wish.

Grind until an even consistency is achieved. If underground, there will be lots of whole seeds whose nutrition is locked away. If overground, the oil will start to clump up, making a rough tahini. In the photo, the finished gomashio  is on the left with the spoon, and the roasted, but not yet ground sesame/seaweed mix is on the right.


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