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Crudites With Sesame Dip

ingredients

6 carrots
4 green or white celery stalks
4 courgettes
4 spring onions

for the sesame dip:

7 oz (200 g) white sesame seeds
6 tbsp chicken stock or vegetable stock
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp mirin or sweet white vermouth or sweet sherry
3 1/2 tbsp Japanese light soy sauce
small pinch ajinomoto or monosodium glutamate (optional)
salt

method

1. Begin by making the sauce: spread the sesame seeds out in a large non-stick frying pan and toast over a moderate heat, stirring continuously to ensure that they cook evenly and do not burn.

2. When they begin to jump about in the pan, remove from the heat. Put them in the food processor and reduce to a smooth, creamy paste; transfer this to a bowl and stir in the stock, vinegar, wine, soy sauce, a pinch of salt, the sugar and, if used, the ajinomoto or monosodium glutamate.

3. Taste and add a little more salt if wished or a little more vinegar if you prefer a sharper taste. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

4. Clean and prepare the vegetables; cut lengthwise into fairly wide sections and then cut into large, thick matchstick shapes about 4 in (10 cm) long.

5. Arrange the vegetables in alternating bundles on a large, round plate and place the bowl containing the sesame dip in the centre.

6. If you need to prepare the vegetables a few hours in advance, keep them crisp in a bowl of iced water to which the juice of half a lemon has been added; take them out of the refrigerator and drain well shortly before serving.

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