Sweet Sesami Flavored Rapini


Rapini (broccoli rabe) is called nanohana in Japan. Actually, nanohana and rapini are not exactly the same, but close enough to substitute. Nanohana is softer than rapini, but rapini is sweeter than nanohana.

The mixture made of freshly ground sesame seeds, sugar, and soy sauce is called goma-ae (sesame mix). We mix nanohana in spring, and spinach throughout the year except winter. This is a side dish, but I love to eat it on rice.

sesame_rapini-BThe only caution is not to boil greens too long, as you don’t want to lose the fresh texture and bite. The greens are moved to ice cold water right after finish boiling, in order to stop the cooking process immediately. Make sure that ice cold water is ready before start boiling the greens.



  • 1 bunch of rapini
  • Salt for boiling rapini
  • 3 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1-1/4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


Boil plenty of water in a pot and add a grab of salt. Wash rapini and cut tough part of the stems off. Start boiling rapini from the stem side first. Bring the water back to boil and keep boiling about 1~2 minutes, and immediately move the boiled rapini in cold water.
Squeeze water from rapini, and cut into 1" length. Toast sesame seeds in a pan without oil. Keep stirring constantly until the color of sesame seeds turn to light brown and fragrant. Watch not to burn. Move the sesame seeds in a suribachi or in a grinder and grind well.
Mix soy sauce and sugar to the ground sesame seeds, and further add rapini to mix well.

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