As weird as it may seem in a non-Japanese house, Zarusoba noodles (aka Buckwheat Soba noodles) are a staple in my pantry. They are just so damn easy to prepare that all busy/working/schooling (you get my point) people should have in their kitchen. At most, it’s going to take you only 5 minutes to prepare one filling lunch or dinner and that whole 5 minutes can include you just watching the noodles get cooked (that’s me on a weekday night). Ok, maybe you need a couple more minutes to wait for the water to boil. And like a few seconds to mix the mentsuyu (soba sauce). That’s if you really refuse to move your hands and feet to cut some spring onions and add some seaweed and wasabi paste, but that’s just extreme.
Compared to the extremely lazy way of preparing plain cold soba noodles, this recipe might seem like a chore, but for a weekend meal, it sure as hell is simple. By adding in cucumber and carrot, I just upped the fibre content of this dish to make it a more balanced meal. Well, as balanced as it could be even without additional protein. Mind you, buckwheat contains higher-quality protein than spaghetti so I would still put this recipe out there as a pretty decent healthy meal.
Carrots are one of those ingredients that I only eat when cooked till soft. But obviously, being lazy, I chose to shred it plus the fact that it’s RAW carrots we’re talking about here. I absolutely cannot eat raw carrots just like that. How I got cheated into eating carrots when i was younger, was that my grandma would stir fry cabbage and julienne carrots together. By the time it’s done, you won’t even taste the carrot. Or maybe I’ve grown accustomed to its subtle taste. Either way, shredded carrots is a good way of getting anyone who hates them to eat them RAW. You won’t even remember they were there.
So I saw another variation of a soba noodle salad here and it looked so good I had to try it. However, it was another lazy day (ahem) and I did it like this instead:
Just like my plain old cold soba noodles, I only had to cook the noodles and I had a meal ready to be gobbled up. Edamame – frozen (the song Let It Go totally popped into my head here), Braised Tau Kwa (firm tofu) – store-bought. Hooray for quick decently healthy meals! You can’t deny the balance this meal has to offer.
Recipe: Fresh Soba Noodle Salad
|Serves 2||Prep Time: 5 Mins||Cook Time: 15 Mins||Total Time: 20 Mins|
2 bundles of soba noodles (I use zarusoba aka. Buckwheat soba, they usually come packed in separate 90g servings but there’s nothing stopping you from making the portions smaller)
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tbsp Mirin
½ tbsp rice vinegar
½ tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves of minced garlic
¼ tsp toasted sesame seed
½ – 1 Gochujang (optional)*
Red chilli flakes (optional)*
Half a medium cucumber
Half a medium carrot (shredded or however you like it, julienne for more crunchiness)
- Bring the water to a boil before adjusting it to simmer and cook the soba noodles for 4-5 minutes, soggy soba noodles do not taste good! So make sure you keep an eye out for overcooking.
- Drain the soba noodles and let it chill in the fridge till it’s cold enough for you or just set it aside to cool
- Prepare the toppings and put them aside first
- Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Retrieve the cold noodle and throw everything into a big mixing bowl and mix! (with your bare hands or with plastic gloves)
- Separate into two portions and serve your fresh soba noodle salad immediately
召し上がり! (Meshiagari means eat up! In Japanese)
- I think most recipes for a similar fresh soba noodle salad would call for sugar or honey, but personally I think the Mirin suffices for that sweet component, otherwise throw in 1-2 tsp of sugar or honey for a sweeter sauce.
- Though I did try it with gochujang, I personally liked it better without it. Unless you want to Koreanize (i’m sure there’s such a word) it or for the added spice, it is just as tasty without a spicy component
- If you can take chilli, you will definitely want to add this. Gives the soba noodle salad an additional spicy punch.