Simona from Bricole is hosting this week’s WHB, and it’s been warm enough today for me to be craving a big bowl of cold Soba noodles with spring onions. Spring onions, scallions or shallots. Even gibbons or cibies, if you’re Welsh or Scottish. By whatever other name you might know them as, they are still that member of the allum family that I love for that fresh, mild onion flavour, as a garnish in potato salads, scattered over steamed fish and white-cooked chicken, rolled up in peking duck pancakes and tossed through my favourite bastardised version of a cold soba noodle dish.
A favourite dish I have almost on a weekly basis is Soba noodles – both the plain buckwheat and green tea types – dressed cold in a soy based sauce, with plenty of aforementioned spring onions, black sesame seeds, thinly sliced cucumber, crispy deep fried eschallots and shredded chicken or poached salmon. It’s a refreshing bowlful of Summer that takes no time at all to prepare. Even better, you can make it ahead and keep it chilled (further allowing the noodles to soak up the flavours of the sauce) until you want to eat it. Just the ticket, when it’s a hot day and the last thing you want to be doing is standing behind a hot stove.
Nigella Lawson’s Soba Noodle recipe is a good place to start, when wanting to make this dish. I usually customise it according to my preferences, by including a dash of cooking sake and a bit of wasabi or chilli for added kick.
Soba Noodles with Sesame Seeds :
(Serves 4 as part of a meal; or 2 when eaten, gratifyingly, as they are.)
75g sesame seeds
250g soba noodles
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
5 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil
5 spring onions
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over a high heat until they look golden brown, and tip them into a bowl.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add some salt. Put in the soba noodles and cook them for about 6 minutes (or according to packet instructions) until they are tender but not mushy. Have a bowl of iced water waiting to plunge them into after draining.
In the bowl you are going to serve them in, mix the vinegar, soy sauce, honey and oil. Then finely slice the spring onions and put them into the bowl with the cooled, drained noodles and mix together thoroughly before adding the sesame seeds and tossing again.
Leave the sesame seed noodles for about half an hour to let the flavours develop, although this is not absolutely necessary or sometimes even possible.