All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Shimeji to ingen no kuroae / shimeji mushrooms and green beans in black sesame tofu dressing

Black is another hue for the table. In this dish, the soft texture of shimeji mushrooms contrasts well with crispy green beans, while yellow viola flowers from the garden perk up the small blackish mound.


Small handful (1/3 pack) shimeji mushrooms
6-7 ingen green beans
Several viola flowers (for garnish; optional)
200 cc dashi (to blanch shimeji and green beans)

For kuroae black sesame tofu dressing
1cm-wide section kinugoshi soft tofu (approx. 2-3 tbsp)
2 tsp black sesame paste
1/2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp (+1/4 tsp) usukuchi soy sauce


Cut stem ends of shimeji, and roughly separate (tear) into smaller sections.
Cut green beans into 3-4 sections.


Put dashi in a pot, and bring to boil.

Add shimeji and green beans, and cook for 1 minute or so.
Remove from dashi, and cool.
(Save dashi for another use, such as miso soup.)


In a suribachi mortar, put tofu and black sesame paste, and mix well.
Add mirin and usukuchi soy sauce, and mix well.
Taste, and add slightly more soy sauce as necessary.


When shimeji and green beans are cool (at least room temperature), add to black sesame tofu dressing, and gently mix.


Serve in bowls, and garnish with viola flowers.

  • Momen firm tofu also works. Firm tofu tends to be more crumbly and substantial, whereas soft tofu makes the dressing creamy and smooth.
  • If black sesame paste is not available, grind toasted black sesame seeds.
  • Soak viola flowers (above, Viola sempervirens, a native species in the Pacific Northwest) after picking them and say goodbye to any tiny bugs (R.I.P.).
  • Kuroae (dishes with black dressing) can be made either with black sesame seeds or calamari ink.

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