Gomasio [en]

Gomasio is a traditional Japanese condiment made from lightly toasted sesame seeds mixed with NON-IODIZED sea salt. The name comes from "goma," meaning sesame, and "shio," meaning salt. It is often used as a healthier alternative to table salt, adding a rich, nutty flavor to various dishes.

Sesame seeds are perhaps the most effective source of calcium for the body.

Prepare:

  • Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are lightly toasted until they become aromatic and golden. Keep a few sesame seeds as a reference. The seeds are stirred and swirled in the pan with a wooden spoon / spatula with a large hole or several small holes, with a diameter of at least 5mm.
  • UNIODIZED sea salt: Sea salt is also lightly toasted to enhance its flavor. In the practical kitchen, the salt is roasted first, then cooled and stored in a clean container, preferably with an airtight lid.
  • Mixing: The toasted sesame seeds and salt are then ground together by hand, traditionally using a mortar and pestle, until the mixture reaches the desired consistency. It does not press on the pestle, it just moves in a circular motion in the mortar. You will hear the 'snap' of the slightly crispy sesame shells.
    The oil in the sesame seed core will thus be released and surround the salt crystals, protecting the consumer.

Variations:

  • Proportions: The ratio of sesame seeds to salt can vary depending on taste preferences, usually between 5:1 and 15:1.
  • Additions: Sometimes other ingredients like seaweed flakes or dried herbs are added to enrich the flavor.

Uses:

  • Sprinkling: Gomasio is often sprinkled over rice, salads, vegetables and soups.
  • Seasoning: Can be used to season fish, meat, tofu or... ANYTHING!
  • Garnish: Serve as a garnish to various dishes, adding texture and savory flavor.

Health benefits:

  • Less sodium: Gomasio offers a lower sodium alternative to regular salt, making it beneficial for those watching their sodium intake.
  • Nutrient-rich: Sesame seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, calcium, magnesium, iron and fiber.

Storage:

  • Container: Store gomasio in an airtight container to keep it fresh.
  • Shelf Life: Can last for several weeks to months if stored in a cool, dry place, but is best eaten relatively fresh to retain its flavor and nutritional benefits.
    The recommendation is to be consumed within the first week after preparation.

Gomasio is a versatile and nutritious spice/food that enhances the flavor of many dishes while providing numerous health benefits.


The traditional vessel used to prepare gomasio is called "suribachi" . This is a special Japanese mortar , and the pestle used to grind sesame seeds and salt is called "surikogi" .

Description of the "suribachi" dish:

  • Material: Suribachi is usually made of ceramic and has a textured interior with fine grooves, which helps to effectively grind and mix the seeds and salt.
  • Sizes: It can have different sizes, suitable for household needs or for professional use in kitchens.
  • Design: The exterior is smooth and glazed, while the interior has unglazed grooves to facilitate the grinding process.

Description of the "surikogi" pistil:

  • Material: Surikogi is usually made of hardwood to prevent damage to the suribachi's ceramic grooves.
  • Shape: It is a long and cylindrical stick, easy to handle for grinding ingredients.

These traditional tools are essential in Japanese kitchens and are used not only for gomasio but also for preparing other spices and mixtures.

*** If suribachi and surikogi are missing, any pestle mortar can be used, preferably wooden.

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