Black Sesame Otsu Recipe

The Black Sesame Otsu recipe from Super Natural Every Day - soba noodles and tofu slathered in a thinned-out, salty-sweet black sesame paste, then topped with lots of sliced green onions.

Black Sesame Otsu

I have a couple of things for you today. A new recipe. And a related teaser for something to come later in the week - a sampler PDF of six recipes & photos from Super Natural Every Day. The sampler includes some of my favorite recipes from the book, and I'm excited to be able to get some of the recipes into your hands. Finally!

Black Sesame Otsu Recipe

Take a peek above to get a sense of what the sampler is going to include. I'm including the recipe for Black Sesame Otsu in this post, down below. For those of you who liked the otsu recipe I included in my last book, I did this new version with a twist. I still use soba noodles and tofu, but everything gets slathered in a thinned-out, salty-sweet black sesame paste, and then topped with lots of sliced green onions. As a side note, the black sesame paste is pretty great on all sorts of other things as well - salads, spinach, roasted potatoes, green beans. Go to town with it.

Huge thanks to each of you who've pre-ordered the new book. I mean it, I feel fortunate to be able to work on projects like this. Ten Speed made a real effort to keep the price point reasonable, so the book is accessible to many. It is $13 on Amazon, and there are a list of alternate retailers on this page as well.

Black Sesame Otsu Recipe

One last late-breaking, book-related note. It looks like Super Natural Every Day is going to be published in the UK & Australia simultaneously with the US version. More news to come when I know more!

Other favorite noodle recipes include: this incredible vegan ramen, my favorite pad thai, and sriracha rainbow noodle salad. Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream is also really good, or browse this list of tasty noodle soups!

101 Cookbooks Membership

Premium Ad-Free membership includes:
-Ad-free content
-Print-friendly recipes
-Spice / Herb / Flower / Zest recipe collection PDF
-Weeknight Express recipe collection PDF
-Surprise bonuses throughout the year

spice herb flower zest
weeknight express

Black Sesame Otsu Recipe

The black sesame paste I use here has become one of my standbys. I typically make extra for use on salads, broccoli, spinach, green beans, edamame, even roasted potatoes. You can make the black sesame paste a couple days in advance, if needed, and it's fine to use white sesame seeds if that's what is available to you. Lastly! Otsu leftovers make a great next-day lunch.

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.

Serves 4.

Excerpted from Super Natural Every Day, to be published by Ten Speed Press, Spring 2011.

Prep time: 15 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Comments are closed.

Apologies, comments are closed.


I love this family-healthy-recipes, I tried to follow.Thanks for sharing.


Just made this with fried mushrooms instead of tofu and topped it with a sliced omelette. Delicious!


Maybe you will want to place a facebook button to your website. I just marked down the url, but I had to make this by hand. Simply my 2 cents.

Alicante Airport

loved this recipe! great with edemame (shelled) + watercress, finely chopped.


What would you serve with this as a veg when you make it at home? Inquiring minds want to know ... ;) Thanks again!


At first I thought the sesame paste seemed a little sweet, and was vowing that next time I make this, I would cut down on the sugar completely or entirely, but by the bottom of the bowl it had grown on me immensely. I still may experiment and see how it goes. Thanks for a great recipe!


Heidi, I just love your website, travel, photography and brilliant, reliably delicious recipes. Thank you and all best wishes, Gabriella (UK)


I love soba noodles, I'm definitely going to try this! I actually have black sesame seeds on my spice rack right now.


AMAZING. Really enjoyed this. Quite beautiful to see the black sesame sand-like texture morph into a creamy sauce upon adding noodle water! I added edamame (shelled) and would also pair with steamed mustard greens. I also seasoned the tofu with shIchimi togarashi. THANK YOU!

Rupal Sanghvi

Made this last night for dinner. My husband and I absolutely LOVED it!! This will be on the menu as a weekly dinner in our house! The only thing is , every time I cook soba noodles, they clump together. Any suggestions?


The Otsu recipe was SO good and really easy to make. I think it would have been more tasty if I had had the sesame oil, instead I used a citrus California olive oil. I mean if a 5 year old loves it, what can you say?


This is delicious!! I added some grated carrot and broccoli for colour and to bulk the dish up. It was a quick weeknight dinner, definitely a new go-to. Thanks!! :)


Hi Heidi, this is the first recipe I have tried from your site and it is going to become a regular -- absolutely delicious and so quick to make! Can't wait for your book to come out. And your blog is amazing!


I love Soba and I love sesame seeds so this has to be a winner. I can't wait for the new book to come out. BRAVO! merci carolg


[url=]Birthday Party Supplies[/url]


I'm so looking forward to this book! You really have changed the way I look at food and cook. Can't wait to try the recipes from this sampler!


We made this last night, alongside Spicy Stir-Fried Cabbage (, and it was such a delicious meal. I'm currently having leftovers for lunch, in the form of a cold soba/cabbage salad. Heidi, you are a rockstar!


Oh, this was so nummy! I had no mirin, so used ume plum vinegar. I am already looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow! HS: Malia - Love the sound of that.


Chika -- Thanks! That seems like an appropriate way to describe something like this, haha.


I made this last night for dinner and we loved it. It comes together easily due to the clear instructions. The paste is so fragrant with the sesame seed and pinenut scents freshly released. I used a small food processor and it worked great. Your description of the paste was perfect - mine looked just like black sand! Next time, for a variation, I want to try this with white sesame seeds. Wonderful recipe Heidi! HS: Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it. It is def. a favorite around here.


Erika - "otsu" is an old-ish japanese word to describe something/someone interesting and/or tasteful, maybe bit quaint or unusual, but kind of cool... not something that is the best of its sort, but nice in its own way. see: (in japanese) HS: Well said Chika :)


I would buy the book just for the pictures, even if I were the biggest carnivore on earth (which I am not - no meat for me!). So gorgeous!


This is so exciting, I can't wait to see the recipes!

sweet road

Delicious! I made the otsu tonight with white sesame seeds and a few extra veggies - roasted kabocha squash, kale, orange peppers. I wasn't sure how thin the sesame paste was supposed to get... I think mine was a bit thicker than in your picture. I will try it thinner next time. Thank you!!! HS: Glad you liked it Shira - I imagine it would be really nice with the kabocha. You can thin the paste out a bit if you like, then readjust the seasonings to your liking :)


YYYYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMY! We had the black sesame otsu last night and it was fantastic (It is going into my favorites folder) Thank you so much!

Karen Cunningham

Hi Heidi, I haven't visited for a few weeks and there's so much to read! I love the sampler menu- so intriguing. I want that millet muffin recipe, and the avocado and mustard seed and the ravioli... Looking forward to your book very much. all my best Angela

the good soup

I can't believe that tinto de verano is in your sampler menu! I spent last spring studying abroad in southern Spain and that's practically all I drank while I was there. When I came home I tried to recreate the recipe myself (without lemon Fanta that is commonly used in Spain and is not readily available in the U.S.) and found that sparkling lemonade was the best replacement, just like your recipe. I think I had at least a glass of it every day this summer, it's so addicting! Did you get the idea for yours from Spain? HS: yes! I love them. It'll be posted tonight. But, as you know - there's really nothing to it. It's more about the weather than anything w/ that one.


This recipe is so wonderful that i will be posting it on our blog, with full credit to you, of course. Wonderful, appetizing recipe!


Congratulations! The sample menu is mouthwatering. Can't wait for the new book!

Lady Amalthea

congratulations on the books. you have great recipes and great photography! i can't wait to try this noodle recipe. :)

heather jacobsen

Love this sampler because (for once) I can eat everything on the menu! Thank goodness for you!

Jen @ keepitsimplefoods

Heidi, The menu looks wonderful; glad to hear the book should (hopefully) be making it's way to Australian stores, too. I've just been reading your recipes about 'the Madame' and her souffle. I have been cooking 'with' her these past few weeks-she really has a presence in the kitchen, doesn't she? I will have to tackle the souffle, soon. As always, thanks for the wonderful reading:) HS: The Madame is no joke. I haven't cooked with her in a while. Might be time to invite her back into my kitchen?! :)


Just finished enjoying this dish for dinner. Since I live in Tokyo, i was able to pick up some fresh soba on the way home from work. Delicious! Looking forward to more sneak peeks of the book.


So unique, thanks for the recipe!


So excited about your book...what an amazing accomplishment!

Rocky Mountain Woman

This Japanese person has never heard of an "otsu" before. Is it "otsumami" shortened or something?


I go crazy for just about any recipe with pine nuts- Thank you!!


I love the simple and classy design of the menu. The color palette is stunning.

Mrs. Stranded

Love your stuff. The way you present things are unique, and inviting!


This looks amazing. So different, sp exciting - but I happen to have all of those ingrediants in my kitchen right now! And I love your menu... to eat so fantastically for a whole day, what a dream!


The Otsu recipe from your Suoer Natural cookbook is one of my go-to recipes and even though I can't take gluten, have found it quite tasty with rice vermicelli too! :)

Sweets By Vicky

Your first version of otsu is probably the thing I make most often from your book. I am so excited to get a new version! Thanks so much! I positively cannot wait for your new book! I appreciate the low price point too! Have a great day :)


I literally started salivating at the thought of avocado, lemon, curry and mustard seeds. What a brilliant idea and I would LOVE if you posted the recipe for that.

Nicole Franzen

Love the sound of the black sesame paste and am also a fan of the Otsu recipe from Super Natural Cooking, so will definitely give this version a spin. Brilliant news that there will be a simultaneous release of the new book in Australia!


Yay! Now I'll be able to buy your book once we are settled in Australia :-) Perfect. Your Otsu recipe from supernatural cooking has become one of my favourite dishes, so I'm stoked to try out another of your versions here. Also your sampler menu looks and sounds fab. It's been such a treat to read your post today, a little light in what has been a horrific day here in New Zealand Xx


REALLY glad to hear your book will be published in the UK so I can get my hands on it all the faster! Xx


Thanks for the sampler (or should I say teaser!) You have us all salivating, I'm sure. Looks great!


Just pre-ordered your book. I am on a cleanse - no grains - but am going to try this with some veg. Will send a pic if its delicious. Danielle

Danielle Klinenberg

The Tutti-Frutti Crumble looks to be my favorite!! Beautiful photos, and a big congratulations on the book!

Kim - Liv Life

Great news about this being published in Australia, I can't wait to see it on the shelves!


Heidi!! I am SO THRILLED to see Tinto de Verano on your sampler menu! I went to Spain in 1992 and fell in love with "Vino Tinto de Verano." If I ask for it in restaurants in The States I get puzzled expressions. Now I can be reunited with this yummy drink, warm memories... and enjoy making it anytime! Thank you! Can't wait to get my copy of SNE. Warmly, Emily

Emily in PDX

This looks simple, clean and delish. Great recipe Heidi!

Mary (what's cookin' with mary)

Oh this menu looks delicious, especially this first dish in the series!


I have all of these glorious ingredients on hand (except the tofu) and I think I'm going to have to give this a try. Soba noodles with toasted sesame oil are my new obsession after I made a delicious vegetable stirfry last week. This may have to be dinner tomorrow night!

Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat)

Congrats on your new book, cannot wait to get a copy! BTW, what does "Otsu" mean???


Wow this looks delicious! Your sampler looks great too!

Happy When Not Hungry

I'm so excited for your new book! Can't wait for the tutti-frutti crumble. That sounds fantastic!

Monique Smith

I'm really looking forward to the release of this book and have pre-ordered by copy! Hurrah for a simultaneous publication for Australia!. Thanks for sharing the sampler menu.


Looks delicious, Heidi. Congrats on Super Natural Every Day. I'm excited to try this recipe as I am in love with black sesame seeds!

The Healthy Apple

What a wonderful blog that I'm sure to use a lot! But what is mirin? HS: Hi Tg, Have a look here.

Tall girl

I'm so excited for your new cookbook! I bought your first one in college & since then you've inspired me to start my own healthy eating blog! Thanks for being such an inspiration & great resource on whole foods. HS: Thanks for the nice note Erica. Looking forward to checking out your site.

Erica Julson

Heidi: You might want to add The Book Depository (in the UK) to your list of places where people can pre-order your book. They don't charge for delivery to Canada and the US and other countries as well. And since you have an international following... HS: Thanks for the tip Gilda, I'll look into it.


my compliments!!!!!! the recipe looks delicius!! i have tryed the farro-risotto of previous post. it was faboulous!!! i gess this time as well!!!!! thank you

kosenrufu mama

I can't wait to try it! I have some friends over for a girl's night next week I think I'll make it for them. Thanks. Sabrina.

Sabrina Smeraldini

Heidi, I just love your style... your recipes, photos, writing... all fantastic! I pre-ordered your book for myself for Valentines Day!! Waiting with bated breath...


What typefaces were used for the sample menu? Particularly the sans serif, but the others as well. Sorry, this question isn't about cooking. The typefaces are beautiful. Thanks. HS: Not sure off-hand Karen, I'd have to ask Toni what she used here.


I have just pre-ordered. Looking forward to it... HS: Loving your recent photos Sam.


Thank you for this yummy looking recipe. I've ordered Super Natural Every Day, and this will keep me excited until I receive my copy in the mail.

Kathleen Curran-Cheng

Looks delicious. I love the addition of cayenne to give it some extra heat. The thin strips of tofu, instead of the typical cubes, are a nice way to mirror the shape and bite size of the noodles, too.

molly @ mollys menu

Heidi, A nonessential question: did you change the posting font to Helvetica? It looks terrific - clean and clear like your recipes. HS: Hi Andrika, Wayne helped me change the entire site over to fonts using TypeKit. Glad you like the update, I like how crisp it looks as well :)

Andrika Brown

Looks delicious! Also loved your recipe that was printed in Food & Wine magazine this month! HS: Hi Adriane - yes, I was excited to see that as well! Here's the link for anyone else who is interested in that recipe, it'll also be in the new book.


WOOOHOOOO! I just about peed my pants with excitement when I saw this recipe, not to mention the teaser! It's stunning and so full of goodness! The only change I would make is to use maple syrup instead of cane sugar (it comes out of our taps here in Canada, you know). THANKS!!!! :) HS: Sounds like a delicious substitution Kristine :)


I've made your Otsu recipe from Super Natural Cooking many times, and absolutely love it - so I know I will also adore this Black Sesame version. I cannot wait to get my hands on my pre-ordered copy of Super Natural Every Day, and am excited to get a sneak peak with your sampler menu. Everything sounds fantastic!


gorgeous and delicious. can't wait to see the recipe sampler!

laura @ alittlebarefoot

One more quick question: what kind of pan do you use to prepare the tofu? I've just been using a stainless steel skillet. I find my tofu (when sauteeing) sticks, but haven't been using my cast-iron skillet--is that what you use? HS: Hi Maegan - I use my stainless steel skillet or sometimes cast-iron. If you're having trouble with sticking, try resisting the urge to toss the tofu until a good, golden skin has formed where the tofu touches the pan. You can then typically run a metal spatula between the two w/o sticking. If you're still having trouble, use a touch more oil. And also, use the firmest tofu you can find. Hope this helps!

Maegan @ thetwotables

Wow! I don't think I would have ever tried black sesame seeds otherwise, but I'll have to stop by our co-op and pick some up. Thanks for the nudge (and inspiration!)

Maegan @ thetwotables

Yayy, I'm so excited! I love your recipes, and I imagine SNE is going to be killer. I've actually made a resolution to try making every recipe in Super Natural Cooking...Super Natural Everyday is next!


Excited to see the preview. Can not wait for the release of SNED!


Congratulations, Heidi! Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedications. I've learned a great deal from your wonderful blog and have been inspired to try many new foods and techniques. I have to mention that you are the one person whose instructions I follow exactly for the "sweet" use exactly the right amount of sweetner to sweeten the food without overwhelming the nuances of other flavors. For everyone else, I decrease the amount by close to half!


This looks delicoius -- and that sampler menu sounds like a walk through my dream food day -- millet muffins and ravioli! Oh so delicious. I love black sesamee seed paste -- what a fun way to spice up soba noodles!

lauren @ spiced plate

The black sesame paste sounds delicious; must give it a try. And the sampler menu looks great!


Love it SIMPLE, YUMMY and HEALTHY...It would be quick to prepare once you have the paste ready....


Hi Heidi! Congratulations on your new book! I have a jar of organic sesame paste laying around and I thought that instead of making the paste, I could simply substitute. I was wondering how much of the paste itself should I use. Thank you!


This is the first time I've heard of Otsu! Very cool recipe. Yummy looking too.


SO exciting Heidi! Congrats on the new book, you must be feeling such a sense of accomplishment after all the hard work. I cannot wait to read it - I, like most of your loyal readers, have been anxiously anticipating the release. I've pre-ordered on Amazon US but good to know that if I review, my readers here in France can easily access it thanks to Amazon UK! (Just remember to stop in Paris on your book tour ok? :) I'll save you a seat at the new Rose Bakery! And can't wait for the rest of the teaser recipes this week - millet muffins? ravioli salad? YUM- that looks like the best day of eating EVER! Bisous from Paris, Rebecca


I have half the ingredients + I've been dying to try soba noodles. These are two very valid excuses to give this a try.

Nisrine, Dinners & Dreams

I have half the ingredients + I've been dying to try soba noodles. These are two very valid excuses to give this a try.

Nisrine, Dinners & Dreams

I am loving that sampler menu and would like a Tinto de Verano right now please! :-) HS: I'm right behind you on that one Maggie! Although the weather here is a bit too cold.

Maggie at Eat Boutique

Oh I am loving this with the soba noodles!

Simply Life

I love the menu! Tutti frutti crumble? Delicious!


This looks so good that I'm going to have to make it straight away. Congratulations on the book!


hello heidi - i've always loved otsu and this version will sure be my new favorite! i've made something similar with white sesame seeds (okay, not with sunflower seeds or pine nuts...) but black sesame will add a whole new element to the dish, both in terms of flavor and appearance. and the sampler menu looks lovely too - can't wait to get my copy in the spring!


This is an interesting menu peg for me to be inspired to do in my restaurant. Good work as always Heidi :)

The Artist Chef

You are always such a huge inspiration. I'm going to make this paste pretty soon I think. Thanks for the teaser. I'm looking forward to more.


I forgot to say in my earlier comment that the sample menu looks so lovely and delicious and as per other people, thank you so much for sharing!


I am really looking forward to this book! This otsu recipe sounds just perfect as I'm a huge fan of black sesame!

Maria @ Scandifoodie

Heidi, that is so great that SNE will be available here in Aust at the same time as it's US release - cannot wait to see it!


Hey Heidi, I am a reader and a fan of yours all the way from Australia. I'm just wondering whether you would be able to put your book up for sale on the book depository website? It's just that the shipping for amazon to international countries and usually pretty hefty. Thanks! HS: Hi Cecilia, a number of people have now suggested this. Thanks! I'll def. look into it.


I love things with sesame. I made Japanese dish with green beans and a similar sesame sauce- can't wait to try this. So excited for the other recipes.


The black sesame paste sounds great--as does your book!


Hey Heidi, I really like the update on the design for the website! The fonts are so much more stark! The menu design also looks wonderful! HS: Thanks for the feedback Earl.

Earl Lee

Lovely looking sampler menu, Heidi. The yellow is very sunny, and I especially like the flourishes at the top and bottom. If this is any indication of how the new book is going to look, you're doing a great job. I can't wait for more peeks!


ooooo! i just go crazy for new ways to dress up soba noodles! so excited to try... this looks delicious.

Carly from Yummrs

Congrats on upcoming new book and UK/Australia publications, Heidi! I'm excited to try out more recipes from your new book :)


Great recipe- great pics.

Blog is the New Black

I'm really quite excited for your upcoming cookbook. The more recipes I try from your site, the more competent I feel in the kitchen (I'm a little bit addicted to the curried apple couscous). I've never used recipes that are so spot on as written. Thank you for your hard work and your joy in sharing. HS: Thanks for the nice note and the apple couscous reminder Beth - it has been a while, and I enjoy that recipe.


Would tahini be an acceptable sub. if you don't have black sesame seeds? Also, I'm so excited to see the millet muffins! HS: Hmmm. I'm thinking that might be an odd swap. Not 100% sure if it would work. I think the better call would be to try to track down the white/beige sesame seeds, or even one of the sesame pastes? I haven't worked out the exact measurements using the paste though - you could likely wing it to taste.

Honestly Good Food

What a great use for the jar full of black sesame seeds I have lying around. I would never have thought of something like this. Thanks, Heidi!

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks`

Millet muffins sound completely amazing!!!


The sampler menu looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}

The sampler looks amazing, I can't wait to see the full contents of the whole book! And your sesame paste does sounds as if it would go great on a whole range of dishes, can't wait to give it a try.

Eating Bangkok

My husband pre-ordered Super Natural Everyday for me as a Christmas present and I can't wait to actually have the copy in my hands! So excited for the PDF!


Heidi, your sampler looks amazing! Congratulations on the book--I can't wait to pick up a copy!


Heidi I cannot count the number of times your recipes and stories have pulled me out of a cooking rut. Thank you :)


The Otsu recipe looks great, as does the sampler menu! Thank you for sharing it...


Comments are closed.

Apologies, comments are closed.

More Recipes

101cookbooks social icon
Join my newsletter!
Weekly recipes and inspirations.

Popular Ingredients

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of its User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

101 Cookbooks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Any clickable link to on the site is an affiliate link.