Happy Donabe Life

Steamed Green Beans and Potatoes in Sesame Peanut Butter Sauce

This simple steamed dish is always a big hit when I serve to my guests, and everybody loves watching the process of making it, too. When the potatoes and green beans are steamed in donabe, they tend to retain both the nutrients and texture, while the flavor becomes so rich and pure. To make the sauce, the sesame seeds are first roasted in horoku (sesame roster) until fragrant, then they are ground in suribachi and surikogi (Japanese mortar and pestle) and mixed with seasonings. The steamed vegetables are added directly to the sauce in the suribachi and tossed together. And, you can serve it right out of it at the table. Sesame and peanut butter add nice richness to the dish. For the sauce, I normally add leftover dashi (either kombu & shiitake mushroom dashi or kombu & bonito dashi) for extra subtle layer of flavors, but you can totally go with just water, if you don’t have dashi and it would still taste delicious.

Vegan option

This is a vegan dish


Mushi Nabe (Large)


4 - 6 as an appetizer


  • 10 oz (300 g) green beans, stem ends trimmed, and cut into 2 or 3
  • 12 oz (360 g) waxy potatoes (such as yukon gold potatoes), peeled and cut into 1/2” (1.5 cm) cubes, soaked in cold water and drained when ready to use



  1. Get the Mushi Nabe ready. Spread the potatoes on the steam grate. Cover and steam for 5 – 6 minutes or until they are just tender.
  2. Add the green beans, cover again, and continue to steam for 3 minutes or until the green beans are tender.
  3. While the vegetables are steaming, make the sauce. Toast the sesame seeds in a sesame roaster over low heat until fragrant, 2 – 3 minutes. By using suribachi and surikogi (Japanese mortar and pestle, or you can use other kinds), grind the sesame seeds until they are pretty fine.
  4. Add the garlic and mash to a paste. Add the peanut butter and sugar and continue to ground and mix, followed by the soy sauce and vinegar. Finally, add a tablespoon of dashi, and add more if the mixture is too think. The mixture should be smooth and creamy but not too runny.
  5. Add the potatoes and green beans and mix thoroughly in the sauce. Transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy with a little sprinkle of shichimi togarashi, if you like.

By roasting the sesame seeds in horoku (sesame roaster), they become extra aromatic.  

Once the sesame seeds are nicely roasted, they are transferred to suribachi (Japanese mortar).  

Grind the sesame seeds until they are pretty fine.  

Sauce is finished.  

Potatoes and green beans are steamed in Mushi Nabe.  

They are added to the sauce and mixed in the same mortar.


*To make quick roasted garlic, place a clove (in the skin) in a toaster and toast until it’s soft. Peel and trim off the bottom end.


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