Cold Hiyashi Soba Salad with Tempura

 I can't say that I remember ever cooking soba / buckwheat noodles before.  I've eaten it in Japan, in a Sobaya (restaurant that specializes in those noodles), but haven't bought any to fix at home.  When I went looking, I noticed that many brands have wheat flour as the first ingredient.  The one I ended up purchasing had more buckwheat flour, but still not 100%.  If that exists, it's not around here.

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

All of which meant that I would be sourcing and cooking buckwheat noodles for a cold salad, and making tempura.  I have prepared Tempura, in the distant past, though nowadays I generally avoid deep fried foods.  But  exceptions to rules may be made in the interest of learning new techniques.

I decided to use only vegetables: pumpkin, sweet potato, eggplant and mushrooms for the tempura.  The Hiyashi Soba had cooked chicken and slivers of omelet, so we were well covered for protein.  I think little cubes of marinated tofu would go nicely on top of the salad as well, for vegetarians, or anyone really.

Our options were to dress the noodles with the dipping sauce or to dip each bite into it.  I took the 'Hiyashi Chuka' way, where you put the noodles in a big bowl and pour a generous amount of dressing over it, both for simplicity's sake and to make less of a mess.

We then scooped a portion into everyone's bowl, so they could top it as preferred with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, slivers of egg, chicken, and pickled ginger.

Slicing omelet
This was a fairly involved preparation, between the soba dressing, tempura dipping sauce, slicing vegetables and blanching some, tempura batter, frying, noodles boiling and toppings.  I am so thankful that my little 11 year old granddaughter, and #1 Sous Chef, was available.  She loves to cook and when not busy with all her extracurricular activities, is a tremendous help.
We thought the combination made a totally satisfying meal, with the light, yet filling and delicious soba salad, and crispy fried Tempura vegetables, which were served alongside, with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil and lemon juice.  Extra dressing was also available for the noodles.  We were given a choice of two dressings actually, and I did the spicy one.

For complete recipes and directions, as well as to see how the other cooks did with their challenge, visit the Daring Cooks' site.  I am also linking this up with with Presto Pasta Nights, now up to #202, hosted this time by Beth Anne at Seventh Level of Boredom.


Audax said...

Love your sous chef she is so cute it is so much fun cooking with children. Great to hear that the challenge went down so well with the family and the photographs say it all delicious.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Ty'sMommy said...

Love, love soba noodles! And I love your sous chef, too! I have my Little Man in the kitchen with me all the time. I think its fabulous!

Thanks for contributing to Presto Pasta Nights this week!

Ruth Daniels said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. Now I'll have to actually READ the ingredients in the soba noodles at the store.

Don't forget that next week is the big 4th birthday bash for Presto Pasta Nights. I hope to see you and another of your awesome dishes at the party.