This excellent recipe appears in Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking. She says In Japanese, otsu means something strange, quaint, stylish, chic, spicy, witty, tasty, or romantic. Heidi's noodle concoction certainly qualifies as otsu in my book.

Grated zest of 1 lemon
1-inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
12 ounces dried soba noodles
12 ounces extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
garnish with cilantro and toasted sesame seeds


Combine zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in food processor and process until smooth. Add lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce and pulse to combine, drizzle in the oils.

Cook the soba in boiling salted water until tender, then drain and rinse under cold water.

While pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry and cube. Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently a couple of times and cook for another minute until tofu is firm and golden. (My family likes soft tofu so we skipped this step altogether and the recipe worked just fine.)

In a large bowl, combine the soba, cilantro, green onions, cucumber, and 2/3 cup of dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu, toss again. Garnish with cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.

Serves 4 to 6

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