1 thing that kept on happening since I started this blog: requests for vegan recipes.. I knew this would be a challenge… a world without Toro, Mcdonald’s chicken nuggets, caviar..or dry aged sirloin (cooked medium rare) would be a very depressing one for me! I had to look up “vegan” on wikipedia because I didn’t even know what the rules were. I learned that you can’t even use fish broth..jesus….
But! I do think summertime is the perfect time to be vegan. Contrary to my previous post featuring a nauseating but delicious combination of foie gras and caviar, this recipe is very light, vegan, and perfect for summer. I took inspiration from cold soba noodles that are served with dipping sauce (Soba Tsuyu), but I added vegetables and fried tofu. What makes Soba a ‘Kitsune‘ Soba? The fried tofu. Usually Kitsune Soba is served in a hot broth with several slices of fried tofu.. but since it’s summer why not make it cold and refreshing. The great thing about this recipe is that you hardly have to cook. 90% of this dish comes together through simple assembly.
There are many brands of soba noodles, some packaged as dry noodles and some packaged as fresh noodles. I used store bought fresh soba noodles for this.
Thinly slice some roasted red peppers, scallions, cucumbers, and kimchi.
Run the cucumbers through a mandolin.
I added kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) to this recipe as well, it’s probably the most important food in korean cuisine, it is sold at quite a few japanese supermarkets and obviously you can get them at korean ones. I washed a lot of the excess peppers off of the cabbage so that it doesn’t overpower the dish.
Now my favorite part, the fried tofu..I sliced 2 pieces of tofu and deep fried it in olive oil until it got crisp and golden brown.
The exterior of this fried tofu should have developed a crust that mimics the texture of potato chips.
Cold soba noodles are usually served with Tsuyu, which is the soy sauce broth cooked with mirin and Dashi (stock derived from bonito flakes…bonito flakes come from dried tuna shavings). The fish broth required for this sauce was omitted to keep this recipe vegan.. I thought it tasted delicious without the dashi.. I made the tsuyu by boiling some mirin, sugar, sake, soy sauce, and water together. The dashi would have made it even more delicious though… >=T
The sauces I am using for this dish; Tsuyu, Hot mustard oil (feel free to leave this out as it is very spicy), vinegar, and sesame oil. I thought it would be nice to even use a spicy peanut sauce for it, didn’t make it but of course you can use whatever sauce you like. These double walled oil and vinegar carafes are available here in case someone was going to ask.
Prepare all the veggies and fried tofu for the noodles. You want them to have a uniform look, all cut in the same style.
Place the cooked soba noodles in the bowl. I shocked the soba noodles in an ice bath after boiling them to keep it very cold. The veggies were kept in the fridge until I was ready to eat them.
Assemble each vegetable over the noodles.
Now drizzle all the sauces on top of the noodles (Tsuyu, sesame oil, vinegar, and hot mustard oil). Test how it tastes as you go to make sure it’s not too vinegary, oily, or salty.
Mix everything together. It’s like a bowl of noodle salad…..
Soba noodles (cold or hot) are sometimes served with tempura. If you want to keep it fully vegan you should use vegetable tempura. I couldn’t help myself, I made some store bought fried oysters. They come prepped with the batter so all you have to do is deep fry it. They taste incredibly fresh for something pre packaged. I’ve made fresh fried oysters before and these pre packaged ones actually taste better!