This simple Japanese Sesame Sauce (Goma Dare) is creamy, flavorful, and savory. Use it as a dipping sauce for shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot) or try it with steamed vegetables, cold or hot tofu, green salad, and somen or udon noodles. The possibilities are limitless!
If you‘re here for the old version of my Sesame Sauce recipe, please see the Notes at the end of the recipe card. However, I highly recommend that you try this revised recipe!
Gather all the ingredients. Please note that one batch yields ½ cup (120 ml), roughly 2 servings as a dipping sauce for Shabu Shabu. If you also serve Ponzu dipping sauce alongside this sauce, then you may have enough for 4 servings.
Mix your sesame paste really, really well before you measure it, as the oil tends to separate in the jar. Then, measure the sesame paste and add it to a small bowl. I used my Homemade Sesame Paste and it‘s a thick consistency, so I measured 3 Tbsp for one batch. Tip: Use a silicone spatula to scrape it off the measuring spoon so you can measure it precisely.
To Make the Sauce
Add 3–4 Tbsp Japanese sesame paste (neri goma) and 4 tsp sugar to a small bowl and mix well until it is completely dissolved.
Then, add 1 Tbsp soy sauce and 4 tsp rice vinegar (unseasoned) and mix together. Did your sesame paste clump up? If your paste is different from mine, this may happen. Don‘t worry; we‘ll fix it in the next step. Tip: According to this article, sesame paste is full of carbohydrate molecules that are drawn to the liquid you add. This produces clumps and thickens the paste. The paste will continue to clump and thicken as you gradually stir in more liquid. Once you add enough liquid, though, the sauce eventually will thin out and become smooth.
Gradually add 2 Tbsp dashi (Japanese soup stock) to the mixture, drizzling in a little bit at a time. Blend in the dashi completely before adding more. Tip: Why gradually? It‘s extremely hard to blend the thin liquid into the thick paste. It‘s easier to combine when you introduce the liquid slowly.
Repeat, adding a bit of the dashi and stirring to combine before adding more. Once you‘ve blended in all the dashi, the consistency of the sauce should be smooth and liquid but still thick.
Taste the sauce. Add ⅛ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt to taste and stir to combine. You also could add more soy sauce if you wish (this will make the sauce darker). Your Sesame Sauce is now ready to use.
When Using Thin Sesame Paste or Tahini...
Here, I made the sesame sauce using Kadoya brand sesame paste to share how it differs from using homemade paste. You can see that the sauce is much lighter in color. This paste is also thinner, similar to tahini, so I used 4 Tbsp of sesame paste for one batch of this sesame sauce.