Friday, August 14, 2009

Asian Soba Noodle Salad

Sometimes I think I could eat something every day and never get tired of it. This summer, this salad featuring soba noodles, Napa cabbage and a really tasty Asian-inspired dressing, is one of those dishes.

I’m a big fan of soba noodles, skinny Japanese noodles made from buckwheat. I’m also a fan of Napa cabbage, a light, crunchy cabbage that is ubiquitous in Chinese stir fries. And it’s a good thing, because we recently had somewhat of a Napa cabbage crisis: A friend gave use several heads of cabbage the same week our CSA delivered a head.

My husband’s solution to this crisis was kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish made by fermenting cabbage and other vegetables. We used this YouTube video to make the kimchi and it turned out great (although I am still humming the background music.) I have to say that, for me, it was an entirely unique way of preparing food. It also called for ingredients I’ve never used, like sweet rice flour and garlic chives. Who knew?

I, on the other hand, knew exactly what to do with the cabbage: Make this salad. It’s perfect for lunch or a light summer supper. I think it would also work well as a side dish with grilled meat.

For the salad:
3-4 ounces snap peas or snow peas (one big handful), blanched 3 minutes
1 bunch soba noodles (they usually come packaged in 3 or 4 separate bunches), cooked about 5 minutes, drained and rinsed under cold water
Half head napa cabbage (depending on its size and your taste) halved lengthwise and sliced in thin ribbons.
3 scallions, cut in 1/4 inch slices, including green part
1/2 cucumber (or one small cucumber), chopped 1/4 pieces
1 red peppers, cut in quarters lengthwise and sliced into 1/4 wide ribbons or julienned
1 carrot, made into ribbons with a peeler or julienned
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
A handful of sprouts (optional)
A handful peanuts (optional)

Mix all ingredients well in large bowl and toss with dressing.

For the dressing:1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice of half of one lime
5 tablespoons brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalepeno pepper, minced
1-1/2 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well or combine all ingredients in a tupperware type container, cover, and shake to combine.

Makes 2 generous main courses

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