Soba noodle salad with sesame-ginger dressing
We probably cook soba noodles more than any other type of Asian noodle. I like that they’re a noodle of substance, made from buckwheat flour or, most often, a mixture of buckwheat and wheat flour. Dried, they look a bit drab and unappetizing, but once they’re cooked for a few minutes they turn plump and tender, but are still slightly firm to the bite.
During the warmer months in Japan, soba noodles are often served cold with a simple dipping sauce. So it’s no surprise that soba noodles work perfectly in cold salads like this one.
The sesame oil in the dressing and the lightly toasted sesame seeds enhance the slight nuttiness of the soba noodles, and the avocado adds its own unique creamy texture and flavor (as well as a good dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat). The mushrooms not only add a lovely earthy flavor, they also soak up the dressing like a sponge. And the red pepper and scallions add color and crunch.
This salad makes a great meal paired with fish, chicken, seafood or grilled marinated tofu. We served it yesterday with hot-smoked mackerel, which was an amazing combination. Other rich fish like tuna or salmon (smoked, grilled, pan-fried, steamed or poached) would also be a beautiful match. Or you can even toss cooked peeled shrimp, shredded roast chicken or pan-seared scallops directly into the salad to turn it into a complete balanced meal in its own right.
6 oz (170g) dried soba noodles
3 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
1 tablespoon shiro miso (white miso)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon superfine (caster) sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon water
4 button mushrooms — thinly sliced
1 avocado — cut into small cubes
½ red pepper — diced
2 scallions — thinly sliced on diagonal
Variation: You can toss cooked peeled shrimp, shredded roast chicken or pan-seared scallops directly into the salad to turn it into a complete balanced meal in its own right.
Serving ideas: This salad makes a great meal paired with chicken, seafood or grilled marinated tofu. Oily fish like tuna or salmon (smoked, grilled, pan-fried, steamed or poached) are also a beautiful match.