Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tomato in Sesame Sauce (Gomadare)

Xi Yan is a famous restaurant in Singapore. They are a private dining facility, and it is quite hard to get a reservation. You must have at least a party of six and a minimum of three hours to spare to sample the banquet. Check it out when you are in Singapore:

In the meantime, since I am now living in Seattle, I have not had the chance to visit. One of their famous "Zhao Ba Cai" (Signature dish) is Tomatoes dressed in Sesame Sauce. It is delicious, healthy and makes a wonderful presentation when entertaining. Here, I share with you my version of this beautifully simple dish. This dish is also a hit during Chinese New Year because the final presentation of the tomato makes it resembles a beautiful orange, which symbolizes prosperity and wealth for the new year.

Gomadare Sesame Sauce Dressing:
4 tablespoons of sesame seeds
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ponzu juice
1/2 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon of dashi (200 g Bonito Flakes and a 1 x 1 inch of kombu in 2 cups of water. Boil until the bonito flakes sink to the bottom, about 3-5 mins.)
1/2 teaspoon mayonnaise (optional)

1) Toast the sesame seeds in a pan until they turn slightly dark brown.
2) Grind the sesame seeds in a coffee grinder until the seeds are broken down and relatively smooth. (You can use a suribachi (Japanese mortar) for this, but I am taking a short cut here.)
3) Add 2 tablespoon of ground sesame into a suribachi, add dashi, mirin and soy sauce and start grinding into a paste. (This step is a lot easiler because I used the coffee grinder in step 2).
4) Add ponzu juice and mayonnaise to finish off the paste.
5) Feel free to experiment! Adding some more dashi will thin out the sauce, but I prefer my gomadare to be thicker and have more body.

3 Organic Tomatoes (Or however many you wish to serve, but the recipe was written for 3 tomatoes, so adjust accordingly)
Mint leaves (for garnish)

1) Drop the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds. Take them out immediately or they will be overcooked.
2) Dip the tomatoes in a cold, ice water bath immediately. Let them rest for 5 mins.
3) Peel off the outer skin. (The skin should come off easily after the cold water bath).
4) Score the tomatoes on the sides (4 wedges). Do not go too deep, the tomato should still be whole.

Putting it together:
1) Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the Gomadare sauce directly on top of the tomato and let it drizzle down the side.
2) Garnish with a mint leaf.
3) Serve.

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