It’s hard not to fall for some cold noodles when the everyday temperature gradually going up. This week, I have been happily surviving on them. With a good combination of chicken meat and fresh summer vegetables, this Soba Noodle Salad with Homemade Onion Dressing is quick to fix, light in calories and presently my favourite!
Cold noodle salads perk us up in hot summer.
Summer in Japan is habitually hot and humid. Sometimes it gets so bad, the sweltering heat even dampens our appetite. All thanks to refreshing summer dishes like this cold noodle salad – they help us to get through and reinvigorate.
When not making my own, I like to buy from convenience shops like 7-11 and Family Mart or neighbourhood supermarkets. They sell a good range of takeaway salads on their shelves which are surprisingly delightful and surely worthy for a try.
Any kind of noodle works well!
On the other hand, if you are keen, cold noodle salads can be put together easily and quickly just like any other green salads.
Noodles are added to make the dish a more sustainable one. If you ask what noodle works best? I would tell you all have their own unique texture and they are each delicious in its own way.
Glass/rice noodles, spaghetti or even Japanese Udon noodles all blend marvellously well with most types of vegetables, meat/seafood and dressings. More importantly, they get even more inviting when we eat them cold.
Particularly, I like soba noodles – they are lower in calories and gluten-free if you choose those made from 100% buckwheat.
Okay, let’s not make soggy salad anymore.
The last thing we want when making salad is a lump of soggy vegetables. Agree? Seriously it would be a waste if that happens, especially vegetables aren’t getting any cheaper these days.
To avoid that completely, always dry your vegetables well. After washing, leave them in a colander for a while to drain off any excess water. Give them a little toss from time to time in case there is more water trapped between in the leaves. If you own a salad spinner, things will be a lot easier.
Same goes to the noodles or even the meat/seafood if you are including them. After removing from their cooking water, give them a little rinse under the running tap and dry thoroughly to remove any residues or scum that might leave behind. You wouldn’t want those to be included in your salads.
Lastly pour in the dressing and toss well just before you serve them crisp and tender.
Homemade or shop-bought dressing? You decide.
Unless you found some preservative and additive-free dressings, it is always good to make your own. A good salad dressing should not only add flavours, it should also have nutritional value.
Making your own dressings really doesn’t take much time – shy away from those with added sugar and fructose corn syrup, try making some and see the difference yourself.
Soba Noodle Salad with Onion Dressing
for a 2-3 persons’ share
Prep time 15-20 mins; cook time 15-20mins
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What You Need
10g of onion
A slice of anchovy fillet
1/4 tsp of dijorn mustard
1 Tbsp of rice vinegar
50ml of healthy vegetable oil
A dash of sugar, salt and pepper
1- Make onion dressing.
Drop the onion, anchovies, mustard, vinegar, salad oil and the seasonings into the work bowl. Process until they are well blended.
2- Prep sprouts and radish.
Remove sprouts from the packaging and cut away the roots. Give them a quick wash, drain away excess water and pat dry. Also wash the radish briefly before cutting them into thin slices. Set both aside.
3- Poach chicken meat.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, remove the tendons from the fillets and season them with salt. Drop the fillets into the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes under medium-low heat. When cooked, remove from pot and give them a quick rinse under a running tap. Then break them up into small pieces and set aside to cool further.
4- Blanch peas and baby corns.
Prepare another pot of hot water. Add in some salt and blanch the peas and baby corns for 1-2 minutes. Cool them briefly under a running tap and pat dry. Cut baby corns into halves and pull out the tough string that runs along the side of the peas. Set both aside.
5- Blanch soba noodles.
Since I’m using pre-cooked noodles this time, I just need to blanch the noodles in a pot of hot water for no more than 1 minute. Take them out quickly and rinse under running tap water briefly. Drain away the excess water with a sieve then transfer to a big bowl.
6- Combine everything in a bowl, sprinkle Soba-cha and serve.
Put everything into the bowl together with the noodles. Pour in the dressing and give it a good toss. Sprinkle some Soba-cha over if you like. Then serve immediately.
If you want something colder, chill in the fridge for a while and pour in dressing before serve.
Here are some ideas if you want to convert this dish to a complete gluten-free.
a) Omit anchovy fillet used in the dressing.
b) Replace chicken meat with some fried tofu.
c) Use 100% buckwheat soba noodles.
What do I like about this dish?
Soba noodles are highly recommended for people who have trouble satisfying their appetite. It is low in calories, high in fiber and helps to hold down in your stomach, allowing you eat more but weigh less.
Losing weight has always been my long-term resolution, especially after I gave birth to my children. It seems harder each year but this soba salad will be a great help to achieve my goal.
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To save/print recipe, click here.