After holidays, I have come back to London with a real desire to be a bit more healthy. With that in mind, I came up with this recipe. I make no claims that this is in any way authentic (but you might see my liking for faux-Japanese food?), as I just checked what I had in the store cupboard and played it by ear.
I wanted to keep the vegetables quite fresh and crisp, so I stir-fried garlic and ginger with marinated tofu, then added carrots, cucumber and edamame beans for flash-fry for a minute. I mixed this up with cooled soba noodles and shredded red chicory, then topped with sesame seeds and a rich dressing with sesame oil, sambal, miso and soy sauce. I’m happy to report that this was a really, really nice recipe. They soba noodles are a bit more chewy than normal noodles, and it was a nice combination with the fresh vegetables and the sauce. Fresh, light but also substantial. Will be making this again soon.
To serve 2:
• 200g soba noodles
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 inch piece fresh ginger
• 200g marinated tofu pieces
• 2 carrots, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
• 1 red chicory
• 3 handfuls edamame beans
• sesame seeds and chives, to garnish
Cook the soba noodles in hot water. When soft, drain and rinse with cold water. Add a little sesame oil to the cooled noodles to prevent sticking.
In a wok, heat the oil. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook until the garlic starts to turn golden. Add the tofu and stir gently, adding a little water if the tofu starts to stick. After two minutes, add the carrot, cucumber and edamame beans and cook for one minute. If it sticks, add a couple of tablespoons of water. Remove from the heat.
In a bowl, combine the vegetables, cooled noodles, sliced chicory and the dressing. Toss gently, then serve sprinkled with sesame seeds and a couple of chive stalks.
For the dressing:
• 2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons dry sherry or vermouth
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
• 1 generous tablespoon sambal
• 1 teaspoon miso paste
• 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. Adjust as necessary, then pour over the salad and toss gently.
Worth making? Definitely. Provided you have the ingredients for the dressing in the house, the salad itself can be easily customised by whatever is available. This would also work well as a side dish with just soba noodles and fresh spring onions (scallions), or even add stock to the salad and serve as a soup.