Yuzu kosho is one of those specialty ingredients that you’ll likely have to order on the Internet, but it’s worth the Google search, trust me. A Japanese paste made from fermented chiles, yuzu (a citrus fruit, a more fragrant version of both lemon and lime), and salt, it’s got a really unique yet vaguely familiar fermented, spicy, bright citrus flavor that makes it taste good with nearly anything (especially vinaigrettes and slaws). Thicker than hot sauce and not as spicy as sambal, a little goes a long way, which may explain why it always comes in such a teeny jar.
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1 lb soba noodles
1/4 cup soy sauce, plus more as needed
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, plus more as needed
2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp yuzo kosho
2 cups watercress
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup tender cilantro leaves and stems
1 lime, halved
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, until the seeds are evenly golden brown and smell roasted, about 4 minutes. Transfer the sesame seeds to a small bowl and set aside.
Cook the soba noodles in the boiling water until just done, about 5 minutes (soba cooks much faster than regular pasta, so keep an eye on it). Drain the soba and rinse it under cold water to chill completely.
Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and yuzu kosho in a small bowl. Finely chop half the watercress and add it to the soy sauce mixture, along with half the scallions.
Toss the soba with the dressing and season with more soy sauce or sesame oil, if you like. Divide the soba among four bowls and top with the cucumbers, cilantro, sesame seeds, and the remaining watercress and scallions.
Squeeze lime juice on top before eating.
Reprinted from Dining In. Copyright © 2017 by Alison Roman. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.