April 19, 2012

Soba Noodle Salad

Soba Noodles are thin grayish noodles that are made from buckwheat.
Ok. Cool, but what the heck is buckwheat... exactly?

No, no, not the kid named "Buckwheat" from "The Little Rascals" from waaay back in the day.
Buckwheat is a plant, strangely NOT in the wheat family tho!   You would think it was in the
wheat family right!?  Nev-er assume! It's actually closer and in the same family as rhubarb and sorrels- which kind of look like spinach more than a grain. Buckwheat is more of a green plant rather than a grain and therefore it isn't used in cereals like the way almost every other grain is.
The noodles are made from the dark seeds. The flowers of the plant look like this.

Japanese buckwheat is always wrapped in bundles like it is in the picture below.

Soba noodle salad can be made as an entree or a side salad.

Soba Noodles 
     (2 bundles is a good amount for 3 people for an entree 
     or a side salad for maybe 4-5 people)
Grapes (maybe 1/4 cup or 2 or 3 branches of the whole bunch)
Salad tomatoes (10-15 tomatoes) 
2-3 leafs of Romaine lettuce

Ingredients for sauce:  
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP of Rice or Balsamic Vinegar
Sesame oil -(drizzle - about 1/2 TBSP)
1-2 TBSP of Agave or any sweetener (grate in an apple)
1 TBSP of hot pepper paste (more for desired level of spiciness)
Sesame Seeds (roasted is best and you want a heavy sprinkle)

The best step to start with is probably boiling some water to cook the noodles.

It's usually best and easiest to make the sauce first in most recipes.
Measure and make the sauce/dressing and set it aside so that it is ready to pour or mix in.
If you haven't put the noodles in the hot water- now is a great time to do so. 

I started by cutting the grapes and tomatoes.

Here is a neat, double duty trick. You want to slice your tomatoes and grapes in half.
Now, you can take a pairing knife and cut each one individually or.... kind of recycle your
take-out food container lids.  You will need 2.  Simply lay one down and place your tomatoes
on it and then top it with the 2nd lid. While slightly pressing down to hold the tomato- lid
sandwich,  take a large knife and slice away!

Ta-Da!  You cut them all half in a matter of seconds.

Now, do the same with the grapes!  Make your grape lid sandwich and then slice away!

By the way... you can use any type of grapes... grapes that are seedless will work best of course!

Take 2-3 stems of romaine lettuce and cut them into long slivers almost like the way cabbage
looks for coleslaw. Combine the noodles, tomatoes, lettuce and grapes into a large bowl.

Add in your already made sauce/dressing  little by little as you use tongs or your hand with
one of those handy plastic throw away gloves.

Hard boiled eggs are another option to adding to the Soba Noodle Salad.
This noodle salad is good to have as an entree or a small side salad with a good steak.