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Black sesame noodle salad

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The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

(Read caption) Soba noodles topped with a black sesame paste, shredded carrot and cucumber, and a little bit of heat from chili pepper flakes.

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Soba, made from buckwheat flour, is prettily packed in bundles about 8 to a package. Note that many sobas are also made with wheat flour so it isn’t a gluten-free food. Juwari, the finest – and usually most expensive – soba is made entirely of buckwheat, but please, please read the labels especially if you are allergic or intolerant to wheat!

This is turning out to be my go-to recipe for a simple summer lunch. It’s done in 15 minutes, even less if you make the sesame paste ahead and refrigerate. Top the noodles with whatever you have on hand – poached chicken, pan-fried tofu, pickles, your options are only limited to what you have in your fridge!

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Black Sesame Noodles

Recommended:22 summer salads

Adapted from

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 15 minutes

1/2 cup toasted black sesame seeds

2-1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

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1 tablespoon sesame oil

1-1/2 teaspoon mirin or dry sherry

1 tablespoon sugar

Pinch of chili pepper flakes or cayenne

12 ounces soba (3 bundles)

1 small cucumber, shredded

1 small carrot, shredded

1. Grind the sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle, or in a small food processor, until it resembles coarse black sand.

2. Stir in the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, sugar, and chili flakes and mix until a smooth paste forms. Taste and adjust accordingly.

3. Cook the soba according to package directions, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Rinse the noodles with cold water and drain.

4. Thin the sesame paste with the cooking water and toss with the noodles. Garnish with cucumber and carrot and slurp up! This dish is tasty eaten at room temperature or chilled first.