The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com
I’ve always been afraid to try soba noodles, the idea of something made with something as health and ick sounding as buckwheat really didn’t lead me to think too highly of it. But I’m glad I tried them in this challange. They were so easy and fast to cook and flavor with the dressing, and very tasty and cool for summer. Slurping them up from a pool of dressing and crunchy julienne vegies was a real treat to eat, I felt like such a kid again.
The tempura I wasn’t so fond of. I’ve had tempura before and liked it, but this batter was limp and chewy. I know tempura is meant to be chewy as well as crisp, but this just wasn’t, even though I had my batter ice cold with ice blocks in it. It’s not tempura, but next time I think I’ll make my favorite extra crisp batter for the tempura: add to a bowl of flower 1 ice cold corona, and it is crunchy crisp batter.
I will enjoy making the soba again. Here are the dipping sauces to poor over your soba once you have cooked and rinsed according to the packet. I topped my noodles with julienne carrots, snowpeas, cucumber, nori roasted seaweed, sliced ham and egg white omelette strips:
Mentsuyu – Traditional dipping sauce:
2 cups (480ml) Kombu and Katsuobushi dashi (This can be bought in many forms from most Asian stores and you can make your own. Recipe is HERE.) Or a basic vegetable stock.
1/3 cup (80 ml) soy sauce or a low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup (80 ml) mirin (sweet rice wine)
- Put mirin in a sauce pan and heat gently. Add soy sauce and dashi soup stock in the pan and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Spicy Dipping Sauce:
¾ cup 70gm/2½ oz spring onions/green onions/scallions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (4 ⅔ gm) (0.16 oz) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1/8 gm) (0.005 oz) English mustard powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grape-seed oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil (if you can’t find this just omit from recipe.)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste – roughly 1/3 a teaspoon of each
1. Shake all the ingredients together in a covered container. Once the salt has dissolved, add and shake in 2 tablespoons of water and season again if needed.