In Australia, we usually eat our noodles hot, but in Japan, noodles – especially soba noodles – are often consumed cold. They are flavoursome, textural and refreshing, and a great base or carrier for other flavours.
This dish pairs some quick pickled Shimeji mushrooms, carrots, radishes, snow peas and nori seaweed with the noodles. It is an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty More and is is a great Summer dish.
Cold noodles are a Japanese art form. On a trip to Tokyo a few years ago I queued with a bunch of suited businessmen to have lunch in one of the city’s most renowned soba noodle restaurants. It was incredibly humbling to watch a bunch of very busy people putting aside time to sit quietly for half an hour and completely immerse themselves in the appreciation of the profound subtlety of the noodles. Enlightenment still escapes me but I’ve had my own little life moments in various London noodles bars in recent months.
I ordered a “Cold Soba Noodle Bowl” in Sydney recently, looking forward to the noodles. Sadly it was 99% shredded raw veggies, and 1% noodles. This dish fixes that ratio with a more balanced serve of noodles with the herbs and vegetables. Delicious!
Soba Noodles with Quick Pickled Baby Pearl Mushrooms
60ml rice vinegar
2.5 tspn caster sugar
3cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into very thin strips (10g)
150g shimeji mushrooms, separated into individual mushrooms, or Baby Pearl Mushrooms (baby King Oyster mushrooms)
2 small carrots, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks (100g in total)
80g dry soba noodles
100g radishes, thinly sliced
20g salad cress (or another cress or tender leaf)
1 spring onion, trimmed and very finely sliced (15g)
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 Tblspn chopped coriander
5 nori (dried seaweed) sheets (20 x 20cm), cut into 1 x 4cm strips
1 tspn groundnut oil
1 Tblspn sesame seeds, toasted
50g raw snow peas, finely shredded
In a small saucepan mix together the vinegar sugar, ginger and 0.75 tspn of sea salt. Gently warm to dissolve the sugar, remove from the heat and add the shimeji mushrooms. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
Blanch the carrots in a small saucepan of boiling water for 30 secs. Drain, refresh under cold water, drain again and dry well.
Throw the noodles into a medium pan with plenty of boiling salted water and cook about 7 mins or according to the instructions on the packet, until they are al dente. Refresh under cold water and set aside in a colandar to drain.
Just before serving, place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, including the mushroom marinating liquid. Toss together gently and serve.