Nov 1, 2020 | Autumn, Recipes | 2 comments

Buddhist Cookery & Sesame Pudding

精進料理 Shōjin Ryōri・胡麻豆腐  Goma-Dōfu

Goma-dōfu, a creamy-smooth sesame pudding, is historically associated with fucha ryōri, a Chinese-style of Buddhist cookery that arrived in Japan with Zen Priest Ingen in 1654.

The pudding is a quintessential shōjin dish because the very act of preparing it exemplifies a virtue extolled in Buddhist practice (and Japanese society, at large): dōryoku… diligence. Making the pudding from scratch requires patience, time and above all diligent attention to the task at hand.

Not meaning to be disrespectful, there are a few (slightly) easier ways to make this yummy pudding. My recipe offers several “shortcuts” that still embrace kansha, the Buddhist sense of appreciation: Gratitude for both artisanal products (such as sesame paste) and modern technology (electric-powered gadgets).

 Ready to try your hand at making this zen-inspired pudding? DOWNLOAD Creamy Sesame Pudding GOMA-DOFU

Join the conversation. Leave a comment or ask a question below.


  1. dsweedler@gmail.com

    White sesame seeds are sold unhulled and hulled. The hulled sesame seeds make for a finer less grainy tasting tahini dressing and I would assume are preferred for a sesame pudding. The black seeds are always sold unhulled as I think the hulls give the black seeds their color. In Japan, all white sesame seeds (Shiro Goma) may be sold with hulls removed as they are often toasted and ground before serving. The sesame seeds used for baking on sesame seed buns for an example are the unhulled variety to provide extra crunch.

    • Elizabeth Andoh

      Sesame seeds are sold in various forms in Japan: hulled (called muki goma 剥きごま in Japanese, mukeru is a verb that means “to remove, peel away”) and unhulled (called arai goma 洗ごま in Japanese, literal translation would be “washed” but when used to describe sesame seeds it indicates the seeds have not been toasted) and iri goma 炒りごま in Japanese which means roasted or toasted or parched. Sesame seeds are also sold as suri goma 擂り胡麻 or “crushed” sesame. If I have a choice, I opt for buying unhulled, untoasted seeds and then toast them just before using for optimal aroma. If all that is available are pre-toasted seeds (iri goma) make sure they are fresh and refrigerate after opening the bag. The (naturally high) oil content is released when toasted and makes the seeds go rancid more rapidly.

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