Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Soba noodle platter--Soba Noodle Salad

Noodle mania hits us at least once week. Usually it's in the form of pasta. My children LOVE pasta. So much that I am convinced they are Italians born as Indians. Whatever form of pasta that hits the table is consumed with gusto, leaving very little for leftovers. Pasta, noodles, spaghetti, lo mein, penne, rice noodles, whole wheat fettuccini, soba noodles.... All clamoring to be the chosen one.

There is something about twirling and slurping these ribbons of carbs that satisfies that pit in the stomach. Italian, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Burmese, even Indian style American Chop Suey, always pleases and satisfies. Most cuisines have some kind of long or short noodle. The act of boiling, salting, draining a colander of steaming squiggles is so rewarding. The kids were taught this job when they were young, which they still perform perfectly. And the ease of preparation helps. Unlike Indian food that involves laborious steps, pasta is boil, drain and sauce....done! At least most of the time. Red sauce or no sauce. Sausage or clams. Thinly sliced pork or a melange of vegetables. Everything works with these slippery fellas.

This time it's soba noodles. The toothsome flavor of buckwheat holds up marvelously to an asian dressing. Finely shredded onions and cabbage sit in a neat pile. Matchsticks of carrot and daikon entice. Soy sauce or fish sauce? Sambal oelek or Sriracha? I dither over ingredients. Glenn is on his way home. I need to chop chop, literally. For me the thrill is in the hunt and today my hunting ground is my fridge. I find some roasted beets for sweetness and color. English cucumber for crunch, along with red peppers and celery. Spring onions for that zing. Dressing gets a shake in a jar. Sesame seeds are toasted. Today's noodles accompany pork belly tacos. A slightly slurpy spicy side. Carb with carb? Hey, there are some redeeming veggies. and I do not hear any dissension among the ranks! 

Soba Noodle Salad
Makes 4 portions

1 bundle of Soba Noodles ( They come in bundles of three)
2 small roasted or boiled Red Beets
1/2  English Cucumber
1/2 Red Pepper
1 rib of Celery
2 tablespoons Cilantro

1 teaspoon Fish sauce
1 teaspoon Sambal oelek or Sriracha hot sauce
2 teaspoons Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon roasted Seame oil
1 tablespoon roasted Sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper

Put all the ingredients for the dressing into a bottle or jar and close the lid.  Shake vigorously and keep aside.

Put a saucepan filled with 6 cups of water, to boil.

Add soba noodles to boiling water. Swirl to separate using a fork or wooden spoon. Let noodles boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and run cold water over the noodles. If you are not using the noodles immediately, drizzle a little olive oil over them and mix well. This prevents them from clumping up.

Slice beets into bite size pieces.

Halve and cut cucumber into small batons.

Chop red peppers into small chunks.

Cut celery on the bias into thin slices.

Roughly chop the cilantro.

Lay cool soba noodles on a plate .

Top with chopped veggies.

Shake the dressing once more and pour over the salad.

Garnish with cilantro and eat at room temperature.


You could make this salad earlier in the day. Just pour the dressing on before you serve it. 

I don't really toss the salad as people can help themselves to whatever portion they desire.

I sometimes scissor the noodles to make for easier forking, especially when its served on a large platter.

Buns are steaming. Warmed pork belly lies glistening and crisp in a pan. A little bit of hoisin, a sprig of cilantro, some red onion and the buns are ready. Everyone helps themselves to the salad. I like looking at the colorful palette on a plate. Today we eat soba. So be it. Next week might be pad Thai. Hmmm that sounds good already!