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!