Meatless Monday: Black Sesame Otsu
Looking for a new dish to try out? Today’s Meatless Monday feature is Black Sesame Otsu, a Japanese soba noodle dish.
The recipe does not call for any animal-based products and is completely vegan. If you’re wondering, where the protein is, it comes in the form of tofu. Soy protein is a great source of protein if you’re looking to cut out more meat from your life. If you can also find organic and non-GMO versions, that’s an added bonus!
Recipe and photo from 101 Cookbooks.
Black Sesame Otsu
Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
- 1 teaspoon pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g black sesame seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mirin
- Scant 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Fine-grain sea salt
- 12 ounces / 340 g soba noodles
- 12 ounces / 340 g extra-firm tofu
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- Toast the pine nuts and sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan regularly. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast for a minute or so. It’s hard to tell when they are toasted; look closely and use your nose. Remove from the heat as soon as you smell a hint of toasted sesame; if you let them go much beyond that, you’ll start smelling burned sesame – not good. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the mixture; the texture should be like black sand. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Stir in the sugar, shoyu, mirin, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, add the soba, and cook according to the package instructions until tender. Drain, reserving some of the noodle cooking water, and rinse under cold running water.
- While the noodles are cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut into matchstick shapes. Season the tofu with a pinch of salt, toss with a small amount of oil, and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, tossing every couple minutes, until the pieces are browned on all sides.
- Reserve a heaping tablespoon of the sesame paste, then thin the rest with 1/3 cup / 80 ml of the hot noodle water. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, half of the green onions, and the black sesame paste. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve topped with a tiny dollop of the reserved sesame paste and the remaining green onions.
Find tips and more recipes at the original post on 101 Cookbooks.
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