Soba has a great mouthfeel and pleasant flavour. Traditionally served chilled as a cooling summer meal, so is perfect for these steamy summer evening. With a nod to their country of origin, I’ve combined cold soba with Japanese pickles and vegetables.
These noodles are traditionally made from buckwheat, which despite the name is not actually part of the wheat family and are gluten-free. But most soba noodles in Australia now contain wheat, so read the packet carefully if you have any allergies. 100% buckwheat soba have a habit of turning into a tangly mess when cooked! However there’s a trick to avoid this. I now use this fool proof method ( below) regardless of what other flour may be in them.
The recipe is flexible so feel free to add your own twist and just use this recipe as a starting point.
Soba noodle bowl
Soba* (or similar) noodles – about 90g per person
A little tamari (or similar), seasame oil or dashi stock*
Toppings – as little or much of what you like
Japanese pickles* eg. ginger, cucumber, daikon
Blanched green vegetables eg. Edamame*, broccolini, green beans
Protein: eg omelette or wedges of boiled egg, canned or smoked fish, bonito flakes*, fried tofu, leftover roast chicken
Cook soba noodles according to instructions on packet. Or try this method that cooks all types of soba perfectly, including when made from 100% buckwheat. Bring a large pot of water to the boil then add the noodles. When the water comes back to a boil add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat this process twice more. After adding the third cup of water take the pot off the heat as soon as the water starts boiling again, drain and rinse in cold water.
Once noodles have cooled in cold water, drain and toss with either some liquid dashi (Japanese stock), a splash of soy/tamari/shoyu or a little sesame oil.
Blanch the green vegetables. Once cool, I usually toss in a dash of sesame oil and a pinch of sea salt.
Slice the cucumber and avocado.
Arrange the vegetables, pickles and protein on top of the cool soba noodles. Sprinkle with furikake and/or thin slices of toasted nori.
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*Available in most Asian grocery stores and some supermarkets