Aug 27

Dried Figs Dressed With Goma (Sesame) Dressing

in Appetizers, Fruits & Vegetables, Japanese, Sauces & Condiments

Before I share today’s fig dish with you, I get to announce the winner of the Fresh Fig Giveaway!  The lucky winner of a box of fresh California figs, as chosen by, is comment #216!


Comment #216 was left by Jill:

Comment #216

Congrats Jill!  I’m so excited for you to try fresh figs for the first time!  I’ll be emailing you today to get your address so that your figs can be shipped to you!


Fig Week

I have to admit that I meant today’s recipe to be something totally different.  I cut my last few fresh figs into slices, dipped them in tempura batter, deep fried them, and then dusted them with powdered sugar.  In my head the idea sounded so good.  In reality?  Not good at all.  The result can only be described as a disaster.  The deep frying gave the fig flesh an unappetizing mushy texture.  It wasn’t pretty.  I think this idea still has possibilities, but unfortunately I was out of fresh figs and couldn’t try again and make the adjustments to put my theory to the test.

But what do do?  I needed one more dish to complete my week of celebrating figs.  I decided to finally pull out the dried figs that had also been included in my goody box.  

Dried Black Mission and Calimyrna Figs

As I sat looking at them, I remembered a popular way of eating figs in Japan—fresh figs peeled, cut into quarters, and dressed with gomadare (sesame sauce/dressing).  The sweetest of the figs tastes delicious with the creamy rich nuttiness of the gomadare.  I decided to try out making this simple dish with a twist, using some of the dried figs.

Dried Black Mission Figs

The pairing was equally delicious, but I found that the dried figs were even richer than fresh, and the combination with the sesame dressing I had made was a bit too rich.  So I decided to add some baby arugula to add a bit of bite that would help cut through the richness of the pairing and prevent the palate from being overwhelmed.  The combination was a definite success and was beautiful as well.  This makes a fun appetizer that is affordable and takes very little time to make.  You start with a bed of baby arugula, then add a dried fig, cut into quarters, then drizzle everything with a bit of the sesame dressing.

Assembling the dried figs appetizers

For the sesame dressing, I deviated from the traditional gomadare recipe which uses some harder to find ingredients like Japanese sesame paste, and substituted easier to find ingredients like tahini.

Goma Dressing

The sauce is delicious, and would make a wonderful salad dressing, as well as a sauce for grilled chicken.  I used dried black mission figs purely for color contrast, but you could use any dried fig—any choice would be delicious.    The combination of sweet, nutty, creamy, and bitter is wonderful.  And the best part about this appetizer?  You don’t have to wait for fig season to serve it, because dried figs are available year round.  A huge thank you to the California Fig Advisory Board for giving me a week of figgy bliss.  I’m afraid of the fig withdrawals which I’m sure are about to hit.

Dried Black Mission figs on a bed of baby arugula dressed with goma (sesame) dressing

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Dried Figs Dressed With Goma (Sesame) Dressing

Makes 16 appetizers

For the Goma (Sesame) Dressing:
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons plain soy milk
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

16 dried figs

2 – 3 ounces baby arugula1. Make the goma dressing: Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Slice the figs into quarters lengthwise.  On small appetizer dishes, place a small bed of baby arugula, then top it with one of the sliced dried figs.  Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon of dressing over each fig.  Serve.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

The Wife of a Dairyman August 27, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I’ve never thought of deep fried figs before….I wonder if you could freeze the figs then try it?? That sesame dressing looks great! Thanks for the idea:)


Paula - bell'alimento August 27, 2010 at 1:26 pm

While I’m devistated I’m didn’t win *sniff sniff* tee hee this recipe look ah-mazing! This is my kind of salad!


HeatherFeather August 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm

This looks very good. I love figs, but have not tried them in anything besides desserts & baked goods before. Oh – and I have had fig balsamic which was great.


Jean August 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Congrats to the lucky winner!


Mika August 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Nice idea!!! I usually see just fig and prosciutto as appetizer, I never saw something different or vegetarian…I like this one, I love all the ingredients you used…
I put this on my to do list…


[email protected] Kitchen August 28, 2010 at 9:58 am

Thanks for a week of delectable fig recipes – such a fleeting delicacy! I’m so glad you added in a dried fig recipe. This salad looks wonderful, and I think the dressing may make it into my homemade dressing rotation.


Kim at Rustic Garden Bistro August 29, 2010 at 11:48 am

Love following along on your fig posts!

I wonder what’s wrong with my figs – we have a huge tree on the driveway, but the figs aren’t ready yet. Why are we always late to the game?!?!?!

Enjoy what’s left of the weekend! Aren’t ya glad it’s getting cooler?



Joy August 30, 2010 at 10:59 am

That looks great. I always used dried figs in cooking. I have never ate it alone.


Jaclyn Cheever February 21, 2012 at 3:15 am

Enjoyed every bit of your blog.Much thanks again.


cyn November 7, 2016 at 1:56 am

Hello there!! May I know where you got the black dried figs from? I last had it in Japan and it was addictive!!!! am back in Singapore and nowhere to be found.


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