Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Modified Gomaae (Cold Spinach Salad)

A couple weeks ago (has it been that long?! I was supposed to post this up the following week!) I posted about my lunchtime inari. Inari is a fried sweet bean curd that is cooked in noodles, salads, and also split open partway and stuffed. On that one occasion, I stuffed the inari with seasoned brown rice, then a variety of toppings, including a kimpura endive and gomaae which I had modified by utilizing what I had on hand, cashew butter in place of tahini / sesame paste.

I don't usually order gomaae in restaurants since it is so overpriced, and almost always, it is some sort of fail - too small a portion, too little sauce, too much sauce, sauce is bland, sauce is watery, or spinach is too leggy.

Being that is so simple to prepare and customize, I've been known to go through Costco sized bags of baby spinach in a week, just eating gomaae. Its been so true that I've had to manage my Costco shopping trips so that I don't OD on vitamin A, vitamin K, or iron. (You laugh, but it is true. Vitamins A and K are fat soluble, meaning they, along with iron can acccumulate in your fat stores and, in high enough concentrations, cause toxicity issues. Spinach also contains oxalates, which bind calcium. This can contribute to kidney stones. Thus the Asian belief that spinach shouldn't be eaten with tofu; however this is only partly true - tofu does not contain considerable amount of calcium unless calcium sulfate is used in its production; GDL or other coagulating agents are used in different methods.

Try to use baby spinach; otherwise, trim the stems off of older spinach leaves, as it will affect the texture of the final product.

1 bunch spinach, washed thoroughly and trimmed, or 6 handfuls of prepackaged baby spinach
2 t cashew butter
1 t water
1/2 - 1 t sugar
salt to taste
1-2 drops sesame oil
1 t sesame seeds

Bring to a boil a large pot of generously salted water. Blanch prepared spinach 1 minute; quickly drain and rinse with cold water.

Prepare dressing - blitz cashew butter, water, sugar, salt and sesame oil in a small food processor or magic bullet until combined. Adjust with cashew butter or water to desired consistency (depends on your brand of cashew butter).

Squeeze water out of cooked spinach. If you used a bunch of spinach (instead of baby spinach), you may want to roughly chop the squeezed spinach. Arrange in dish or on a plate and pour a teaspoon or so of dressing over top. Garnish with sesame seeds. Makes about two servings, although I have been known to down two recipes in one night...

Simple, isn't it?! You can adjust the seasonings, using tahini instead, adding soy sauce or tamari instead of the salt, or adding other flavourings, but I like it in its simple form the best. The dressing is also nice on other steamed or raw vegetables like cherry tomatoes, celery, carrots, and bell peppers.


  1. Thanks Jessica - can't wait to try this!

  2. Thanks for being patient Elaine! I lose track of time ...well...all the time. :p Let me know how it goes!

  3. Gorgeous photos, Jessica!! Love the addition of cashew butter, thanks for sharing this awesome recipe, going to make it tonight :)

  4. Thanks Phyllis, let me know how you like it.

  5. That is VERY simple. But delish too - I love spinach!

    Interesting bit of info there about vitamin A & K too.

  6. Thanks Agnes - I like spinach, but this recipe makes me *love* spinach. :) One of my younger cousins' mantras when she ate spinach was "Popeye likes eating spinach, Popeye likes eating spinach..." lol

    Vitamins A, D, E, and K are not water soluble, so the body cannot excrete them as readily. Something to keep in mind. :)

  7. Finally made it last night - AWESOME. I had to stop myself from eating all the dressing straight out of the food processor!

  8. I know Phyllis, isn't it addictive??! I want to make a batch again now.

  9. Going to try this...it looks and sounds delicious. I am trying to cook healthier food.


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