Soba noodles have a chewy texture and nutty flavor, and are as enjoyable chilled as they are hot. For a refreshing cold noodle salad, we cooked soba noodles in unsalted boiling water in a Dutch oven until tender but still resilient and rinsed them under cold running water to remove excess starch and prevent sticking. We then tossed the soba with a miso-based dressing, which clung to and flavored the noodles. We also cut a mix of raw vegetables into varying sizes so they'd incorporate nicely into the noodles while adding crunch and color. Sprinkling strips of toasted nori over the top added texture and a subtle briny taste. Yellow, red, or brown miso can be substituted for the white miso, if desired. We prefer the subtle flavor and crisp texture that freshly toasted nori brings to this dish; however, plain pretoasted seaweed snacks can be substituted. For a spicier dish, use the greater amount of arbol chiles. If dried arbol chiles are unavailable, you can substitute ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Recipe: Chilled Soba Noodle Salad
Serves 4/Total Time 45 minutes
- 3 tablespoons white miso
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1—2 dried arbol chiles (each about 2 inches long), stemmed and minced
- 8 ounces dried soba noodles
- ⅓ English cucumber, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin on bias
- 4 ounces snow peas, strings removed, cut lengthwise into matchsticks
- 4 radishes, trimmed, halved, and sliced thin
- 3 scallions, sliced thin on bias
- 1 (8-inch-square) sheet nori, toasted and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks (optional)
1. Whisk miso, mirin, oil, sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon water, ginger, and arbol chiles in large bowl until smooth.
2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but still retain some chew. Drain noodles and rinse under cold water until chilled. Drain well and transfer to bowl with dressing. Add cucumber, snow peas, radishes, scallions, and nori, if using, and toss to combine. Season with salt to taste. Serve.
If you like this recipe as much as we do, check out "The Complete Salad Cookbook" by America's Test Kitchen.