This mildly spicy dish requires minimal cooking, so it’s great for a hot day. Both udon and soba noodles will work in this dish.
- 3 tablespoons tahini (a runny variety if possible, available in Middle Eastern markets)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons hot red pepper oil (to taste)
- Pinch of cayenne (optional)
- 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ginger juice (see below)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth or water (more to taste)
- ¾ pound udon or soba noodles
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 1 yellow or red pepper, cut in thin 2-inch strips
- 1 Persian cucumber or 1/3 European cucumber, cut in 2-inch julienne
- 1 medium-size ripe tomato, diced
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped chives or scallions
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- For ginger juice, grate a 1-inch piece of ginger. Wrap in a piece of cheesecloth, twist both ends of the cheesecloth and, holding the package over a bowl, wring out so that the juice is squeezed through the cheesecloth into the bowl.
- In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can make it spicier if desired.
- Cook the noodles. I like to cook wheat udon and soba the Japanese way. Bring 3 or 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the noodles gradually, so that the water remains at a boil, and stir once with a long-handled spoon or pasta fork so that they don’t stick together. Wait for the water to come back up to a rolling boil — it will bubble up, so don’t fill the pot all the way — and add 1 cup of cold water. Allow the water to come back to a rolling boil, and add another cup of cold water. Allow the water to come to a boil one more time, and add a third cup of water. When the water comes to a boil again, the noodles should be cooked through. Drain and toss with1 tablespoon sesame oil.
- Combine the noodles, pepper, cucumber, tomato, cilantro, chives or scallions and black sesame seeds in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing and serve. The salad can also be refrigerated for a few hours before serving. In this case add half the cilantro now and the rest just before serving.