“Pseudo-Japanese?” you say? While we have salads in Japan, and even sesame dressing, but it’s not quite the same as the Wafu Dressing found in Japanese restaurants across the US. Aside from being less sweet, the sesame dressing in Japan also tends to be less rich because it’s made with coarsely ground toasted sesame seeds instead of neri-goma (練り胡麻), which is a pureed sesame paste.
Neri-goma is similar to Middle Eastern tahini, but tahini is made by grinding just the inner kernel of the seed, while neri-goma is made by grinding the whole sesame seed, including the husk. Either one will work in this dressing, but neri-goma has a thicker consistency and more robust flavor.
Regardless of which you use, it’s this sesame paste that give Wafu Dressing its creamy texture and nutty taste. I’ve served this with a simple salad with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and kaiware sprouts, but this dressing works on just about any salad. Try tossing it with some soba noodles and veggies for a noodle salad, or mixing it into boiled potatoes to make a sesame potato salad.
- Put all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until the dressing is smooth and creamy.
- Serve the wafu dressing with a salad or as a condiment for meat and seafood.