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!

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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!

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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!

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.

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

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.

Oh I am loving this with the soba noodles!

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 :)

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!

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