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Cold Sesame Noodles with Sweet Peppers

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.

Dressing Ingredients

  • 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)

Salad Ingredients

  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Recipe from the NY Times