No-sesame Japanese Goma Ae (Gluten-free & Vegan)


The older I get the more I crave for Japanese cuisine from my childhood days.

Goma Ae (prounced as “a-e” separately not “ae”) is basically translated as ‘sesame mix’.

Traditionally this is made with french beans mixing a sesame seed paste that consists of sesame seeds, soya sauce, sugar and mirin (some people also add dashi and oil).

I fondly remember grinding sesame seeds in a traditional pestle and mortar with my grandmother making this dish. Just thinking about it brings back such lovely memories.

No need for all the Japanese sauces

Even though I am Japanese I have lived in England most of my life. This means I don’t cook Japanese food every day and I don’t keep many of the essential Japanese cooking sauces such as mirin, sake and rice vinegar.

Being concerned for the environment, buying a bottle of exotic sauces just to use it once or twice for the remainder to sit in a cupboard until it exceeds its expiry date is such a waste of food as well as plastics.

I make it a personal policy to cook and bake with things that I use everyday – so this recipe does not contain mirin. Of course, if you do happen to have one then adding mirin would give it a more authentic Japanese taste.

Sesame alternative

You can make goma ae using other seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds. However, commercially available seeds usually have precautionary allergy labelling, which means that the item ‘may contain’ other allergens such as nuts.

The only seeds where I currently know this not to be the case are Flax Farm’s ground linseed. I mentioned in a previous post on gluten-free vegan fruity seed bar, that Flax Farm replied to my email on 23rd February 2020 with the following advice:

“Our linseed meal is milled in a unit that only handles linseed and no other nuts or seeds are present. In our kitchen where we bake the flaxjacks we do have other seeds but no nuts and the kitchen and the pressing unit are completely separate locations.”

Ground linseed has a very similar texture to ground sesame so this is my answer to creating an allergy friendly no-sesame goma ae!

Please note that, like all other things, people can also be allergic to linseed although these allergies are much less common.

Now on with the recipe!



100g french beans

2tbsp ground linseed from Flax Farm

1 1/2 tsp gluten free soya sauce

2tsp castor sugar

1tbsp sunflower oil (alternatively walnut oil will give a beautiful nutty flavour although sunflower oil is totally fine)


  1. Wash and chop the french beans into about 4cm length. This doesn’t have to be exact, you can keep the beans long or short.
  2. Put the french beans into boiling water and boil for 3-5 min. Don’t over cook the beans as it will become too soft and wilty.
  3. While the beans are boiling, put soya sauce, sugar, linseed and oil in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  4. Drain the beans and while steaming hot place them in the bowl and mix with the paste.
  5. Transfer into a nice dish.
  6. Enjoy hot or cold.
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