This summer, I am looking forward to eating light. Lately I’ve been eating a lot of cold noodles, whether it be pasta salads or cold soba noodle salad with vegetables. I took inspiration for classic Japanese soba tsuyu dishes to compose this dish. Mine includes four different vegetables and delicious crisp fried tofu. This version is really a ‘Kitsune Soba’—in Japan, Kitsune Soba just means there are fried tofu slices added on top. This recipe is also vegan friendly.
Recipe for the soba noodle salad:
- 1/3 cup sliced scallion
- 1/3 cup fried tofu
- 1/3 cup sliced roasted red peppers
- 1/3 cup sliced cucumbers
- 1/3 cup sliced kimchi (korean spicy pickled cabbage)
- 1 serving of soba noodles
- 1/4 cup Tsuyu (soy sauce broth)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon hot mustard oil (feel free to omit as this is very spicy)
Recipe for the Tsuyu soba dipping sauce (makes 2 cups):
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons of sake
This spicy Korean pickled cabbage is one of my favorite parts of this dish. You can get it at most Japanese supermarkets and at Korean ones as well. Wash off the excess pepper, and slice thinly.
The rest of the veggies should be sliced in the same fashion. Prep the roasted red peppers, run the cucumber through the mandolin, slice the kimchi, and scallion. Also cut three slabs of tofu.
The tofu will be the protein portion of this meal. I wanted to fry it because the noodles have a soft texture, and the crispy tofu will add some bite to it. The tofu must be fried for a long time (until it develops a very thick crust). Please look at the photos below for reference. I used olive oil.
You can see what the tofu’s exterior looks like, it’s developed a thick crust. Slice all of the tofu in the same way the veggies were sliced and salt them liberally. Let them cool off.
Sauces for the soba noodle salad from left to right: vinegar, Tsuyu soy sauce broth, sesame oil, and hot mustard oil. Feel free to leave out the hot mustard oil, as it is very spicy.
Boil the soba noodles until they are firm but tender. It took me about 4-5 minutes to cook these soba noodles. If you bought dried soba noodles, check the package for cooking time, each package may be slightly different as soba noodle thicknesses vary. After I drained the noodles, I shocked them in an ice bath to make them very cold. The vegetables were also kept in the fridge until I was ready to eat.
Place each vegetable on top:
Drizzle the sauces over the noodles. There is a recipe listed above for how much you should use, but obviously everyone has a different palette. In reality you should taste test the noodles and add little by little as you go just until the sauces blend together to your liking.
As a side dish with my vegan soba, I made some fried oysters. I bought them pre-packaged and frozen—all I had to do was fry them. Soba is sometimes served with some fried side dishes like vegetable or shrimp tempura.