Sesame “udon” noodle salad うどんの胡麻和えサラダ

japanese cake

I got this idea many years ago from “sesame noodle salad” which was available in the delicatessen section of a near-by grocery store. This is a sort of hybrid dish and could go well as a side for American style barbeque or could be served as a Japanese style drinking snack.I

I used the thin Udon noodles you see below on the left called “sanuki udon” 讃岐うどん. These are the dried kind and take about 13 minutes to cook. They have some texture and won’t dissolve or get too soft even if used in chicken noodle soup. Another needed ingredient is “nerigoma” ねりごま which nowadays comes in a plastic pouch (rather than in a can, below right) similar but slightly different from tahini. Nerigoma is from roasted white sesame seeds and appears much finer or creamier than tahini but tahini can be used in this recipe. Udon noodle: I used two bundles (2 servings) of dried sanuki udon. As per the package instructions, I boiled them for 13 minutes and rinsed under running cold water and then drained. I used the noodles without cutting them but you may want to cut them into short segments. I put just a dash of dark roasted sesame oil on the noodles and mixed well using my hands to add sesame flavor as well as preventing the noodle from clumping.

Other vegetables;
Carrot (2 medium, peeled and thinly julienned)
Haricot vert (or green beans): (1/2 cup, boiled and cooled, cut on bias)
Scallion: 4 stalks chopped finely (below, lower right).

Dressing:
Sesame past or nerigoma: 3 tbs
Soy sauce: 2 tbs
Rice vinegar 1 tbs
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Sesame seeds 2 tbs, dry roasted.

The secret to a good sesame dressing is to use both sesame paste and dry roasted sesame seeds which are coarsely ground. The combination will give a nice smooth texture to the dressing as well as bursts of strong sesame flavor.

I mixed the first 4 ingredients in a small Japanese mortar (or suribachi すり鉢) (above, left upper). Of course, you can use any small container or bowl to do this. I dressed the mixture of noodles and vegetables (above, right lower) using this dressing. Meanwhile I roasted sesame seeds on a dry frying pan until the surface of the seeds started developing dark brown color and became fragrant (above, right upper). I tipped the roasted sesame seeds, preserving a small amount for garnish, in a suribachi and ground it coarsely (above left lower). I mixed this into the salad. You could add more soy sauce and/or vinegar after tasting it.

I served this with a garnish of sesame seeds. In this presentation, this is a perfect sake snack. The nice slightly chewy texture of udon noodle and sesame dressing is a good combination.

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