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Making Gomasio {Sesame Salt}

31 Jul

Gomasio

One of the beautiful things about the world of blogging is that we are in an atmosphere of sharing and learning. While some of my foodie counterparts are grain free, low carb and some are not, there is much to be learned all the way around when paying attention to other writers. Recently, I saw a post by the talented Julie Minten on her blog, Grano Salis, talking about home made gomasio. Hmmmm… I had no idea what gomasio was before that, not to mention that one could make it at home!

So that post of hers sparked an interest and I began investigating more about gomasio and why I might want to attempt to make a batch! It turns out that it is sesame salt, a condiment that is wonderfully flavorful while providing the health benefits of sesame seeds. It is an essential seasoning in macrobiotic diets, and allows one to use less salt while adding flavor.

I have a collection of mortars and pestles, but this is the largest and heaviest, which is perfect for this task.

According to an article by Harold Kulungian, gomasio has medicinal powers that include soothing digestion, adding energy, help in healing inflammatory disorders, and possibly even help with cancer and diabetes. He goes on to talk about how gomasio de-acidifies the blood which leads to more balanced health. His article also provides a recipe if you are interested in checking it out. One of the biggest keys is making sure to grind it by hand, not using a blender. He uses a suribachi (Japanese wooden, grooved mortar and pestle.) Gomasio is also featured in blogs that promote health and beauty, such as at Beauty is Wellness, where Jolene Hart talks about the health and beauty benefits of gomasio made with added seaweed.

After digging around, I was convinced that it would be worth the effort to make my own, and I also decided that I wanted to include some seaweed flakes in half of the batch. I have a nice amount of both white and black sesame seeds on hand as I picked some up recently at our bulk food store. I have sea salt as well as some earth salt that I wanted to include. While it did take awhile to crush by hand in the mortar and pestle, it is delicious and I know I will be keeping a supply on hand from now on! This is my own version, and it varies in salt content from some other recipes I found, but the salt I used seemed milder than usual, so I adjusted. (Scroll down past the images to see the entire recipe.)

Roasting the salts, getting all the moisture out in preparation for grinding with the mortar and pestle.

Toasting the sesame seeds to crisp them slightly and activate the oils. Do not over cook or burn, just get them to the point of crunching when squeezed.

Beginning to grind the sesame seeds and salt in my heavy mortar and pestle.

Grinding the seeds takes time. Be patient.

Grinding the seeds takes time. Be patient.

Finely chopping the seaweed sheets to add to a portion of the gomasio.

Gomasio {Sesame Salt}

  • 1 Tb sea salt (fine)
  • 1 Tb earth salt
  • 6 Tb white sesame seeds
  • 6 Tb black sesame seeds
  • 4 sheets (2″x3″) toasted seaweed (optional)
  1. Begin by roasting the salt over medium heat in a heavy skillet to remove moisture.
  2. Transfer to mortar and grind to a fine texture.
  3. Next, lower heat to medium/low and roast the sesame seeds, stirring frequently until they are lightly toasted and crunchy, but not dark.
  4. Carefully transfer to mortar with the salt and begin to grind in a gentle crushing motion to release the oils. Have patience, as grinding the seeds by hand will take some time. You may even want to consider this a sort of peaceful quiet or meditation time, just enjoying the process. It took me perhaps 20 minutes to get the consistency I desired, though you may prefer it finer.
  5. If you are not adding seaweed, you are done now, and can store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. I found conflicting opinions on whether the seasoning should be refrigerated or not; some said it spoiled in the fridge, others said the opposite. As I can tell already, I will be using this quickly enough that I am just storing it in the pantry with my other seasonings.
  6. If using seaweed sheets, you may want to toast them further in your same skillet, just be sure that they are dry and easy to chop.
  7. When toasted, transfer to a cutting board, and using a large, heavy knife, finely dice the sheets into small flakes and add to the gomasio. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Here, I have used gomasio on freshly sliced garden cucmbers. Delicious!

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10 responses to “Making Gomasio {Sesame Salt}

  1. changeforbetterme

    July 31, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I have never heard of this salt but am vastly interested as I am diabetic and i also have to watch my salt intake! This sounds perfect to me….now I just have a acquire a mortar and pestle! and the salts…and the sesame seeds….and…oh hell all of it! :-) Thanks!

     
    • Gretchen without Grain

      July 31, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      Haha! Well, the sesame seeds are much cheaper if you buy them at a bulk store rather than in the spice isle at the grocery store. Same with the specialty salts. The mortar and pestle was one of my flea market finds, but they are available at kitchen stores and websites as well. (Though in a pinch, I might try using a powerful blender, shhhhh.) Gomasio is also available to purchase pre-made, but I have never run across it… perhaps at an upscale or urban grocer. Hope you get a chance to try this! My hubby loved it :)

       
      • changeforbetterme

        July 31, 2012 at 7:18 pm

        I’m always looking for new and better ways to spice my food without it hurting me…and this looks really good, so I may have to break down and get everything and try it :-) thanks again!

         
  2. johnnysenough hepburn

    August 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Like you I’d never heard of this. As I love sesame seeds and loath to cook with salt (apart from boiling new potatoes/pasta) this sounds like a great alternative, especially for fish.

     
    • Gretchen without Grain

      August 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      The toasty flavor is really nice, so far I’ve loved it in veggies, and I am sure it will be great on fish too. It did take a little effort to make, but I think it might be a new staple in my pantry!

       

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