The last few weeks our grocery shopping has been an exercise in self control, well, when is it not actually. On each trip, my dad and I come back with a couple of bags of fruit. To get all our groceries we invariably end up going to a couple of stores in the area. And its extremely tough not getting tempted by the variety of fruits found in each. We seem to be at a perfect point in the season where summer berries are sharing the space with wonderful fall stone fruit. Mangoes and lychee's from the Asian market, plump raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and melon at the neighborhood Sprouts and ripe peaches, nectarines, plums, plouts, plumcots(!) from Tarder Joe's. It's come to point where my mother has had to intervene and place a ban on fruit buying (huh!). But we still sneak some in cos there's just too much fruit to pass up and not enough time to enjoy all of it. psst...mango is still the winner :)
We are also eating our way through the amazing produce from our trip to Suzie's farm a few weekends back. The ripe tomatoes went into a traditional South Indian pachadi/pickle (recipe soon), enchilada sauce (this too!), green tomato chutney, rasam, sandwiches, salads and many more. In fact, no matter what we cooked in the last few weeks, tomatoes and peppers found a way in. A few beets, eggplants and peppers are still hanging around and I want to give this gorgeous looking pickled slaw a try soon. But in the mean time, here is a super simple summer noodle salad. It does not need much cooking and is great at room temperature or cold. I start with soba noodles that are made from buckwheat and have a nutty flavor and a slight chewiness when cooked. Did I mention it barely takes 4 mins to cook them ? In the time it takes for the water to come to boil and cook the noodles, the veggies and dressing can be prepared. Quick, simple and flavorful.
Soba Noodle BowlPrep time: 20 minsCook time: 10 minsIngredients:-
- 2 bundles (3.1oz each) - Soba noodles
- 1/2 cup - Onions, sliced
- 1/2 - Red pepper, sliced lengthwise
- 10-15 - Snow peas, vein removed and sliced in half
- 1 Tbsp - Toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp - Toasted Sesame oil
- 11/2 Tbsp - Tamari sauce or Soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp - Tahini or Peanut butter or Almond butter
- 1 Tbsp - Lime juice or Rice Vinegar
- 1-inch knob of fresh Ginger, finely grated
- 1 tsp - Sriracha hot sauce or 1/2 tsp - Red chilli flakes (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp - Honey
- 1/3 -1/2 cup - Noodle cooking liquid
- 2 stalks - Scallions, green and white parts sliced
- 1/2 cup - Cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp - Sesame seeds
Note: Swap in other veggies but make sure pick a few that are crunchy. You can also add crushed, roasted peanuts for garnish. I've made this recipe with all three choices - tahini, peanut and almond butter and they all tasted good.
- Bring water to boil in a pot deep enough to hold the noodles.
- In a large mixing bowl, add all dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. If the tahini or nut butters are clumpy and the choice of pots allows it - carefully place the bowl on the pot of water to gently heat and loosen the dressing. Otherwise, microwave for 15-20 seconds. Taste test and adjust quantities to suit your taste. I tend to add more lime juice and ginger.
- Blanch snow peas in the near boiling water for just a minute or two. Fish them out and add to the dressing bowl. Next add the noodles and cook to package instructions.
- Heat sesame oil in a shallow, wide pan on medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers to it and stir fry until slightly tender yet crunchy. Transfer to the dressing bowl. Toast sesame seeds in the same pan until lightly browned. They'll start jumping out of the pan at this point anyway :) Reserve for the final garnish.
- Once the noodles are ready, reserve 1/2 cup of water and drain the rest. Rinse noodles under cold running water and add to the dressing + veggies bowl. Toss gently to coat the noodles with the dressing, adding noodle cooking water as needed.
- Garnish with chopped scallions, cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.
This has become one the recipes I go to when a quick, flavor packed meal is needed. Its fresh, colorful and has lots of textures and flavors that will keep you going back for more. I've become a huge fan of the ginger-soy combo after I made this for the first time and have used it in this salad recipe too. The ingredients in the dressing are things that I have begun to stock in my pantry and I always have a few packets of soba & udon noodles from the Asian market. With the addition of a few veggies its a quick lunch or dinner in the making. Since its good at room temperature or cold, and sans garlic, its a great lunch box dish as well.