To make a rich and silky—yet simple—sauce for udon noodles, Milk Street Facebook Community member Suzanne Lewis Peins of Hamilton Township, New Jersey, combines tahini, lemon juice, soy sauce and a little water. After tossing the cooked noodles with the mixture, she sprinkles them with sliced scallions and sometimes a little chopped parsley for fresh notes and a spark of color. We added a touch of sesame oil and sugar to her winning formula to accentuate and complement the flavors of the tahini.
Don’t salt the water for cooking the udon because the noodles already contain sodium. Also, don’t forget to save ½ cup of the cooking water before draining them, as you will need some of it to make the sauce.
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring once or twice, until tender. Reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain in a colander. Rinse under running cold water until fully cooled, then drain again; set aside
In a large bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water; the mixture should have the consistency of thin yogurt (if too thick, whisk in additional water 1 teaspoon at a time to thin).
Add the udon to the tahini mixture and toss until evenly coated. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the scallions and sesame seeds.
This was divine. I was reluctant to try it, because I have a favorite recipe for sesame noodles and this seemed too close to it, but I'm so glad I did. Very refreshing and easy to put together. Definitely on our rotation. Creamy and delicious.
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