A simple lunch: chilled soba noodles

Somehow this baking blog has been serving up more savory items lately, something I didn't intend to do when I first started this little spot but now feels like a natural progression as I play around more in the kitchen in general.  So here's to mixing up some more savory with all the sweet...

I thought I'd post this simple soba noodle dish that I've been making in the past few months.  It's a nice summer lunch or even dinner option to consider since it's pretty quick and easy to put together - and I think those are the kinds of recipes most of us want for our everyday lives, particularly in the summertime.  
I've mentioned before that I like to watch Nigella Lawson's cooking shows.  Well, I've seen Nigella make these soba noodles many times (re-runs) and I'm glad I finally got up and started cooking this for myself.

You need some basic pantry ingredients to dress the soba, and then you can add to it as you see fit.  Make it and leave it in the refrigerator so that it's ready when you want it.  It makes a great meal or side dish during the warm months when you want something filling but not too heavy.  I often make extra so that I'll have lunch for a couple of days.

These soba noodles are lightly dressed with rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a little sugar for a nice balance of flavors.  I was actually surprised by how restraint this Nigella recipe is in terms of dressing.  If you prefer more dressing on your noodles, feel free to make more but I like it this way.  It keeps the dish light, and I think there's just enough dressing to give it flavor.  A generous amount of toasted sesame seeds and fresh scallions add crunch and great flavor to the dish.
I love to add sauteed shiitake mushrooms to these noodles; I think shiitake mushrooms just go really well in many Asian dishes.  And to make more of a meal out of it, I sometimes eat it with some sauteed shrimp.  Salmon or leftover chicken are also excellent proteins to pair with it.  It's a whole lot easier to think about and whip up the add-on's when you already have the noodles in the fridge!  I recently picked up a simple method of poaching chicken breast from America's Test Kitchen (another cooking show) and I've been poaching a few at a time, dicing it, and keeping it in the fridge to eat with noodles like this one or with salad.  

Anyway, noodles of all kinds are my idea of everyday food and this is a good one to add to the rotation.


To make this recipe from Nigella, start with 8 ounces of soba noodles.  The sesame seeds is a key ingredient in this dish, adding a lot of texture and flavor, but  the original recipe calls for a pretty hefty amount - half a cup.  I use about 3-4 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds and that works quite well for me.
A note on the soba noodles.  Maybe it's not perfectly authentic but I've been using the more readily available dried soba noodles that are a combination of buckwheat as well as yam flour.  If you insist up on it though, I've discovered the Eden brand of 100% buckwheat noodles at Whole Foods.

And here's a great tip I learned about soba noodles from Nami of Just One Cookbook, a terrific blog I discovered recently: rinse your soba noodles very well under cold running water after cooking to get rid of its slimy texture.  Nami says it's the key to great tasting soba noodles and she knows what she's talking about!  So make sure you rinse the cooked noodles thoroughly under running cold water and rub them together with your hands for the best taste and texture.

As you can see from the picture above, there's not very much dressing for the  generous amount of noodles.  The dressing itself is a mixture of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil - and not too much of each.  As I mentioned, I love combining it with some sauteed shiitake mushrooms as well.  

Stir the noodles and dressing together, along with the sesame seeds and a good heaping of scallions, and if possible, let it sit for an hour or two before eating so the noodles have a chance to absorb the flavors. I keep it stored in the refrigerator and enjoy the noodles nice and chilled.  I can't tell you how good it feels to have a lot of healthy prepared food in the fridge ready to go.  It tends to get pretty busy after 3pm for us, and with after school activities having us running around, I appreciate any advance cooking and make-ahead meals!

If you take it right from the fridge and want to loosen things up a bit, sometimes what I'll do is add a splash of rice vinegar and half a splash of soy sauce, and mix it around before digging in.  You might also prefer to set it out and let it sit at room temperature for a bit while you get other things ready.


Recipe:

Chilled Soba Noodles
Adapted from Nigella Lawson

- 2 to 4 servings (depending on what you serve it with, if anything) - 

3 to 4 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted*
8 ounces soba noodles
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
5 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 scallions, finely sliced

* I toast the sesame seeds in a small, dry pan over medium-heat.  Move them around frequently to prevent burning.  They're ready when they turn golden brown.

Cook soba noodles according to package instructions.  Generally, this means dropping them in boiling water and cooking for about 7 minutes, until noodles are tender.  Drain noodles into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water, rubbing them gently with your hands to get rid of the slimy texture.

In a large bowl, mix the rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil together.  Add the drained noodles and toss it with the dressing to combine.  Add scallions and mix together.  Lastly, add sesame seeds and give it one more toss.  

Cover the noodles and refrigerate.  If possible, let sit for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to develop.  

Optional add-in's: I love adding sauteed shiitake mushrooms into the noodles. This dish is also excellent served alongside proteins such as chicken, salmon, or shrimp.






26 comments:

  1. It looks pretty tasty - I could throw in some edamame too! Yum! Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Hi Tricia - edamame would be great. I like tossing some in salads...lately, I like making salads and throwing in some grains and tons of mixed vegetables and whatnot. Enjoy the weekend...it is HOT here!

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  2. What a delicious soba noodle lunch!

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  3. I'm glad you're doing both sweet and savory recipes. I LOVE sweets but every now and then, something savory is nice. :)

    I love the sound of this soba noodle dish. It's great on those super hot nights when you don't want to put heat in the house. This will be on my to-make list in the summer. Pinning! :) Have great weekend Monica!

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    1. Thanks, Anne. I like this dish a lot because there's not an overly sweet, heavy dressing on it. It's just enough and great to go with some protein. Have a great weekend!

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  4. This soba noodle dish looks lovely Monica! A perfect lunch or light dinner for those hot nights in the summer time. We enjoy eating a variety of noodles in our house too since it's so easy to add whatever else we have on hand. I love the light dressing that you used and the scallions and shitake mushrooms look and sound so appetizing.

    Thanks so much for the tip about rubbing the soba noodles together after you rinse them! Every time I made soba noodles, they would turn out a little bit slimy too - I would rinse them but didn't know I was supposed to rub them together afterwards. I will try that out next time. Can't wait to make this, thanks Monica and have a great weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! I like that it's nice and light, not very sweet and not too much dressing. I'm happy to pass along the tip. I rub them pretty good and never had any slimy texture. Enjoy the weekend!

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  5. you are on SUCH a nigella kick right now and i am loving every minute of it! this is a great idea for summer meals, and i like your shiitake addition; inspired choice! definitely making this soon, as i love and require easily-thrown-together meals this time of year.

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    1. I know...I'm making up for the fact that I'm always watching her but hadn't made more than a couple of her recipes in the past. I love make aheads and that feeling of opening up the fridge and there's something to eat!

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  6. The soba noodles look very tasty. Do bring more savoury treats please!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Angie. Baking always seemed much easier than "regular" cooking but I'm trying different things lately. The simple, basic recipes appeal to me most. : )

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  7. I love soba noddles, I serve them both hot and cold. But you're so right, the cold one is perfect for hot days. I love that you add the shiitake mushrooms in these yummy noodles. :) What a lovely addition.

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    1. Thanks so much, Amy. It's been so hot this past week - perfect for some cool foods though they still require we turn on the hot stove. My son loves cold ramen... : )

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  8. I have everything in my pantry except for these yam and buckwheat soba noodles. Now, I have to look for them Asap to try this gourmet dish. Have a great Sunday evening!

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    1. That's great! I love when a recipe calls for things I already stock and can make use of.

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  9. Soba noodles are total comfort food to me. My mom made them for lunches or quick dinners once or twice a week all growing up, and they've always been a favorite of mine! I love the simple, perfect flavors in yours!

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    1. You were a lucky girl growing up, I think, Marie! I think we share a deep love of noodles. : )

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  10. So easy, delish and a great summer salad! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. It is really easy and tasty. I made a batch yesterday and just had some. : )

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  11. Looks perfect for the warm weather, so simple and yet so elegant Monica...
    Great pictures as well!
    Have a lovely week :)

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    1. Thanks, Juliana! With the warm weather, I need light fare but lots of it!

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  12. We love cold soba dish! Even though we don't have much appetite somehow cold noodles just goes into mouth and at the end I eat more than I planned. xD Thank you so much for your kind mention. It's very sweet of you. :)

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    1. Hi Nami, I adore your blog and have learned a lot since I recently discovered it! Thanks for sharing all your recipes and tips with us!!
      I so agree about noodles. We can put them away before we know what hit us. Now if only you had a homemade recipe for those cold ramen noodles that come with those packets of sweet ginger sauce? My son loves that (hint, hint... :)

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  13. I am with you--I chose Fudging Ahead and not some savory name, after all. I think it's cool that we can expand in all culinary directions, though. This is a nice simple recipe that could be good for a weeknight dinner. :)

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    1. Yes, and I like being able to pull up a recipe from the blog...this is definitely easy and I like having extra in the fridge for a couple of day.

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