It’s a dressing! It’s a vegetable! It’s well-nigh a dip!
OK, it’s a little messy to eat as a dip, but I still like to use it as such with slabs of cucumber.
Anyway, this is one of my all time favorite salad dressings. I’ve encountered variations of it at several different Japanese restaurants and I can never get enough. It's a balance of harmonious contradictions; sweet earthiness from the carrots, lively warmth from the ginger, tangy and savory and rich without being sour, salty, or heavy. It’s delicious, refreshing, low in fat, and high in fiber and flavor.
This is a quick and dirty version, all quantities are approximate, adjust them to your own preferences. I don't add mirin because I never have any on hand. By all means add some if you have it. To taste, as with everything else.
Ingredients: Makes about 2 cups
2 c. carrots, I like to use whole peeled baby carrots but any carrots will do.
peeled fresh ginger; start with a piece about 1 inch cubed, and add more to taste. I prefer about twice as much.
2 tbsp. soy sauce (this is just a starting point)
4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (this is just a starting point)
1-2 tsp. sesame paste or 0.5 tsp. sesame oil (the toasted variety)
Throw the carrots and ginger in a blender or food processor and puree. Add a bit of soy and vinegar if it needs a little extra liquid to get it moving. When it’s finely pureed, add more soy sauce, vinegar, and the sesame paste or oil and blend again (if you're adding mirin, start with a tablespoon). Taste frequently and fine tune the intensity. When it's delicious, you're done.
Serve over top of your favorite salad, or do as I do and eat up a bowl with lots of fat cucumber slices.
This dressing will keep for several days in the refrigerator, but use it up relatively quickly. Once you decide how you like it, it's easy enough to make more or less as you need it.
izubachi says re carrot ginger dressing: I do testify that this dressing is scandalously delicious.