The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com.
This was a delicious Daring Cooks’ challenge. I had never had soba noodles before and was a little bit skeptical about whether or not it was something we would enjoy. I’ve tried many whole wheat pastas in the past that were too healthy and not tasty, but these buckwheat noodles have a wonderful texture and mellow, slightly salty taste.
I knew I liked tempura, but had never made it at home. This tempura was very light and easy to make, but I’m still not sure that I would make it again because I rarely cook fried foods at home.
But the Soba Salad I would definitely make again. I was surprised that I liked the Soba Salad even more than the tempura. It reminded me of a pasta salad with an Asian twist. It is a quick healthy meal, that would be perfect on a hot summer night.
Cold Soba Salad and Tempura
- 2 quarts 2 Liters water + 1 cup cold water, separate
- 12 oz 340 g dried soba (buckwheat) noodles (or any Asian thin noodle)
Spicy Dipping Sauce:
- ¾ cup 70gm/2½ oz spring onions/green onions/scallions finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons 45 ml soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons 30 ml rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon 2½ ml (4 ? gm) (0.16 oz) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon 1¼ ml (⅛ gm) (0.005 oz) English mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon 15 ml grape-seed oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon 15 ml sesame oil (if you can’t find this just omit from recipe.)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste - roughly ⅓ a teaspoon of each
Common Hiyashi Soba Toppings:
- Thin omelet strips Ham, Boiled chicken breasts, Cucumber, Boiled bean sprouts, Tomatoes, Toasted nori (Dried Seaweed), Green onions, Wasabi powder, Finely grated daikon (Japanese radish), Beni Shoga (Pickled Ginger)
Cooking the noodles:
- Heat 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the noodles a small bundle at a time, stirring gently to separate. When the water returns to a full boil, add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat this twice. When the water returns to a full boil, check the noodles for doneness. You want to cook them until they are firm-tender. Do not overcook them.
- Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse well under cold running water until the noodles are cool. This not only stops the cooking process, but also removes the starch from the noodles. This is an essential part of soba noodle making. Once the noodles are cool, drain them and cover them with a damp kitchen towel and set them aside allowing them to cool completely.
Spicy Dipping Sauce:
- Shake all the ingredients together in a covered container. Once the salt has dissolved, add and shake in 2 tablespoons of water and season again if needed.
- All toppings should be julienne, finely diced or grated. Prepare and refrigerate covered until needed.
- Traditionally soba is served on a bamboo basket tray, but if you don’t have these, you can simply serve them on a plate or in a bowl. Divide up the noodles, laying them on your serving dishes. Sprinkle each one with nori. In small side bowl or cup, place ½ cup (120 ml) of dipping sauce into each. In separate small side dishes, serve each person a small amount of wasabi, grated daikon, and green onions.
- The noodles are eaten by sprinkling the desired garnishes into the dipping sauce and eating the noodles by first dipping them into the sauce. Feel free to slurp away! Oishii!
this looks absolutely lovely!
I love tempura, and yours looks so fresh and light. I’ll have to try the soba noodles on your glowing recommendation:)
Cathy at Wives with Knives
As much as I like tempura I seldom make it at home because of the deep frying. This soba recipe sounds delicious, Barbara, and I’m looking forward to trying it.
the blissful baker
Ohh I love tempura! Yours looks so delicate and delicious!
Becky at VintageMixer
I rarely cook fried foods at home either. Its just too messy 🙂 I tried churros over Christmas and it was a disaster.
Becky at VintageMixer
I rarely cook fried foods at home either. Its just too messy 🙂 I tried over Christmas and it was a disaster. churros
Beautiful display of the noodles and tempura! The table looks as appetizing as the food. I’m glad you liked the soba – I was sure I would like it but I’d have to find a spicier sauce to go with it. And the tempura – I’m with you, I don’t do lots of frying – but the sweet potatoes were so good! Yours look very crispy, so you must have found the right temperature for the oil. Good job, Barbara!
I have always wanted to try soba noodles–this looks wonderful. But I agree about tempura–I hate frying and would rather eat it in a restaurant than make it. Your photo is wonderful–I love how you styled it–that fan is such a nice touch!
bake in paris
Love your soba and tempura. For a first timer this definitely looks like a wonderful turnout… I am admiring how crispy and tasty your tempura is 🙂
This looks great Barbara. I adore tempura, and all of those wonderful Asian flavours in the noodles sound devine. I also covet your very pretty fan!
I’ve always wanted to try soba noodles!
Barbara, what a simple healthy meal! I love tempura. Yours look very appertizing. Thanks for sharing & hope you’re enjoying your day.
Barbara…great challenge…love them both, specially the tempura…looks very tempting 🙂
natalie (the sweets life)
I love ordering tempura—need to try it at home sometime now!
Rocky Mountain Woman
I love tempura and make it once in a while when I want to clean up my fryer…
The sauce looks amazing! It’s on my list for next time I try my hand at tempura- I’ll bet the sweet potatoes would go with it especially well!
Barbara your tempura looks so light and crispy! I was also surprised at how good soba salad is! Love your decoration!
We love soba noodles and I’ve made salads with them before…and I really like your dipping sauce. Will make it soon.
Much as I like tempura, I’ve never attempted it at home. The batter is so light and your recipe looks easily doable for the home cook, Barbara. Great job!
I rarely cook fried foods at home either but this was not too bad in terms of smell etc. And so delicious! Love love love the sweet potato tempura!