Gomashio, also spelled gomasio, is a traditional Japanese seasoning made of sesame seeds and salt. Gomasio is extremely easy to prepare and, except in Asia, it is mostly used as a macrobiotic condiment. However, anyone can benefit from gomashio, as it is a incredibly tasty and nutritious.
If you like sesame seeds, you’re going to love gomasio.
Sesame seeds are an excellent source of minerals such as copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, selenium and other elements. In addition, they contain fibers known as lignans (similar to flax seeds) which help digestion and cleanse the colon. There are also two unique substances contained in it: sesamin and sesamolin, which contribute to maintaining a low blood pressure and protecting the liver. Everything you wanted to know about sesame seeds is here.
Take 1-2 cups of sesame seeds and roast them either in a non-stick pan (without using oil) or in an oven. I prefer the latter, as it is more convenient and you don’t need to stir continuously (otherwise the seeds will burn quickly).
Place the seeds on a tray covered with non-stick parchment paper, no oil. Spread them in a uniformly thin layer.
The goal is to roast the sesame seeds until they become brownish and can easily be cracked between your fingernails. I typically set my oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) and let them roast for 17-20 minutes.
Once you have roasted the seeds, place them in a mortar and pestle. In Japan they even have a dedicated mortar called suribachi.
A coffee grinder is also a good alternative.
Add Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt in a 1:15 or 1:12 proportion. For 2 cups worth of sesame seeds, this roughly translates to 1-2 tbsp of salt.
If you’re cautious about eating too salty, add half a teaspoon to start. The next step is a little bit tricky. Pulse several short times until the seeds are cracked but not fully grinded. You don’t want sesame flour. The texture of the final product should be coarse.
When this is properly done, a wonderful nutty flavor will delight your nostrils. I was amazed the first time I made gomasio, because I could feel this flavor through the lid of the coffee grinder. As soon as you feel the flavor, stop grinding it. It’s ready.
Taste it and add more salt if you want, pulsing it one more time. (or move everything in a bowl and stir by hand).
Using suribachi is more laborious but it is the traditional way of making gomasio ,allowing a greater degree of flexibility at the expense of more work.
Gomasio can be kept for months in an air-sealed jar at room temperature, although I bet it will be consumed much sooner.
Sprinkle it over salads, soups, use in dips or wherever you like.
Apart from its incredible, nutty taste, gomashio is a strongly yang food, which counterbalances most yin foods from regular and vegan diets.
Contrary to most seeds, which are yin, sesame is strongly yang. Heating the seeds makes them even more yang.
Salt also is a yang substance, so mixing roasted sesame seeds with salt yields a powerful yang effect.
NOTE: The traditional method of preparing gomashio also requires roasting the salt in an iron-cast pan. If you want to try this way, roast the salt until it becomes grayish or brownish. For the rest, the recipe is identical.
Good luck with your gomashio and feel free to send me your comments and impressions.