February 21, 2013

Japanify: Garlicky Gomadare (Sesame Sauce)

by Yoko Kumano

Whenever I had shabu-shabu as a kid, there was NEVER ENOUGH gomadare (sesame sauce). It has all the elements that leave you wanting more: sweet, salty and savory. I was never a huge meat fan and I looked forward to dunking udon in my mom’s gomadare more than any other part of the shabu-shabu meal. So one of my “when-I-grow-up” dreams was to have a large supply of gomadare. Humble dreams, yes, I know.

With this simple gomadare recipe, I am ready, at pretty much any moment to make as many cups of gomadare as I want. It’s a dream come true!

I’ve had the privilege of being invited to two shabu-shabu dinners this year already. With good company and good food, it’s a pleasure to be able to share this gomadare with everyone. In addition to being sweet, salty and savory, I’ve added another feature: garlicky.

Makes about 2 cups

7 cloves of garlic
8 tbsp sesame seeds ground (you can also substitute this with tahini)
5 tbsp Japanese mayo
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp miso (I prefer red)
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil

1. Get your ingredients together. This is the hardest part of the recipe. There are a lot of things in gomadare and making sure that you have everything you need is probably the biggest challenge.

2. I like to roast my sesame seeds before grinding them up.

A suribachi (Japanese mortar and pestle) works wonders for grinding sesame seeds.

3. Grate ginger and garlic. If you are a huge garlic fan like me, try this recipe with these amounts of garlic. If not, you can include less cloves.

4. Mix everything together. If it’s too salty, add some more sugar and vice versa. If you want something creamier, add more mayo.

This makes about 2 cups but it will quickly evolve into a quart, then a gallon if you multiply the recipe!  So indulgent!

This sauce is also ideal for stirfrys and as a dip for steamed vegetables.


  • Kishi
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I’d also like to add that there is NEVER ENOUGH garlic breath either. Super yum (the gomadare, not my garlic breath!)

  • Kayoko
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    This was so delightful. I grew up on the Mizukan stuff and thought that could never be topped. Thanks for sharing your special family recipe!

  • Anders
    Posted February 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Work those killer nails, woman!

  • worm
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Were you inspired by our Shabu-Shabu Superbowl dinner?

  • Yoko
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Kishi + Kayoko: I am glad you guys helped licked the bowl of gomadare clean. That was fun!

    Anders: My new obsession. Painting my nails while watching Netflix.

    Worm: Yes, totally inspired by our Shabux2 dinner. That was fun too!

  • tomo
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 3:27 am


  • emily
    Posted March 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    this is my favorite part of shabu-shabu! on a related note, do you know where I can find a good, solid suribachi (preferably not made in China)? I found a few on amazon, but reviews seem to be mixed about their weight/solidness.

  • Scott
    Posted February 14, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. This is delicious. I’m wondering if I make larger quantities and jar it up airtight and keep it refrigerated, how long I can expect it to keep. Any idea? A week? A month? Please let me know if you have any experience storing unused portions. Thanks!

  • yoko
    Posted February 14, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Scott – I am glad you enjoyed this recipe. Everytime I make this, it’s gone really quickly. I LOVE it too. I put it on my udon or soba noodles and it’s soooo good! In an airtight jar, I’d recommend keep this for up to 10 days in the fridge. I don’t see why you can’t freeze it too. I also let my nose be the judge of things like this — smell it for any traces of rancidness.

4 Trackbacks

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