Sesame enjoys a reputation of being a healthy food in Japan and both black and white sesame are common ingredients in Japanese cuisine. To toast the seeds for this recipe, simply put them in a frying pan without oil then heat while stirring until the seeds have puffed up and you can smell the distinctive aroma of sesame.
1. Boil the beans in a pan of water for 5 minutes or until tender.
2. Finely grind the sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar or in a coffee grinder. Add the sugar, dashi, miso paste and soy sauce and mix together well.
3. Toss the green beans in the sesame dressing and serve as a side dish.
* Caster sugar is superfine granulated sugar.
** See the recipe for dashi (Japanese fish stock); you can also make instant dashi from freeze-dried granules, available in many Asian grocery stores.
Reprinted with permission from the book:
Japanese Cooking for Two
by Kurumi Hayter
Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd.
Japanese Cooking for Two is a revelation to anyone intrigued by the exquisite appearance and tastes of Japanese cuisine. The 54 dishes in this volume can be made from easily found ingredients that explore a wide range of flavours and textures.
ISBN 962 593 654 8
This brick-red tin would make a handy stand on your desk for holding pens, pencils and brushes. Or of course you can use it for its original purpose, as an airtight container for storing your favorite tea.
The round scarlet post box has been a familiar sight on Japan's streets for almost a century and a half. The Japan Post adopted the iconic design from the British Royal Mail postbox, as well as the distinctive red livery. Instead of the Royal Mail's coat of arms, however, the box is decorated with the kanji characters for Yuubin (Post Office) and one of the earliest logos in the world, the letter T (for 'Tsushin') with a bar across it, which debuted in 1877.
The tin comes filled with a 30g pack of Houjicha, a roasted black tea that is refreshing as a hot beverage in winter or iced tea in summer. The tea is from the famous Suzukien tea plantation in Saitama, Japan.
It's the perfect gift for designers, tea-lovers, Japanophiles or stamp collectors. [US$15, €13.20]
These colorful chopstick rests in the shape of ripe vegetables will brighten up any Asian meal.
Our vegetable set of hashioki (chopstick rests) includes ripe tomato, crimson chili pepper, vibrant bitter gourd, plump eggplant and crisp carrot. It's the ideal set for an Asian meal and complements noodles, stir-fries or sushi.
In Japanese table etiquette, chopsticks should always be left on chopstick rests between bites.
In recent years, hashioki have become available in a huge range of shapes, colors and sizes. We've scoured the kitchenware shops of Kappabashi to come up with our own unique sets for discerning customers. [US$17, €15]