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Place white sesame seeds in a skillet and toast over a medium-high heat stirring constantly. Not kidding about the stirring – if you turn your back on them, they burn very quickly. Stir until the majority of the seeds are golden brown. Transfer them to a bowl to prevent them from cooking further. Add a few tablespoons of the seeds to a surabachi (you could use a mortar and pestle, but a surabachi is grooved and so works better), add a generous amount of coarse salt and grind. Don’t grind it into a powder, just break most of the seeds. Transfer to a container and refrigerate. Gomashio will go rancid if left in a cupboard for long.

You could add very small pieces of toasted nori or other items to this basic recipe, but just as is, it is wonderful when used as a condiment for rice, or sprinkled on top of a noodle soup, or sprinkled on lightly steamed asparagus, or…well, just sample it yourself and you’ll see what I mean. It’s fabulous stuff.

By the way, one-half cup of sesame seeds contains over three times the calcium of a comparable measure of whole milk. Some studies show that sesamin, a lignan found only in sesame seeds, has remarkable antioxidant effect which can inhibit the absorption of cholesterol and the production of cholesterol in the liver. The seeds are also rich in Vitamin A, E and protein.

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