It’s cooled down some since we last spoke. Emphasis on “some” because it’s still summer weather incubated in a vast sea of pavement. So, the best cool we can do is 27°C, which is great. I am not complaining about the weather – for once. But even with the slight cool down, I’m still eating like we’re living that heat wave life. We’re talking quick-cook proteins and fresh greens 24/7 over here! And today’s Chilled Soba Salad with Sake Poached Shrimp is just further evidence of that fact.
Isn’t it funny how we tend to leave carbs behind in the summer? Or at least I do. In the winter I swear I have a hollow leg when it comes to bread, potatoes, and pasta. But in the summer I don’t even consider them unless they’re getting very cozy with a plethora of fresh veggies and greens. This further supports my theory that I would be a lot healthier if I lived somewhere without soul-crushing winters…But let’s not dwell on that.
While mashed potatoes and cheesy pasta dishes get a much-needed time-out in the summer, I can’t say the same for noodles. I think I can finally make the boldest of bold statements and declare noodles as my all time favorite food. I just can’t say no to them even when I’m in the throes of heat stroke.
Take this Chilled Soba Salad for instance. The noodles are great here. Their “chilled” status enhances the nuttiness of the buckwheat and their naturally chewy texture makes them an ideal hearty salad carb. But if and when you’re looking down the barrel of a blizzard (perish the thought) you know those same noodles will be there for you in a piping hot bowl of lemongrass chicken noodle soup. And this cross-seasonality is not limited to the soba noodle, almost every noodle can do it. See? Perfect food.
Yes, I know the same can be said for pasta, bread, and potatoes. And I’ve been known to enjoy my fair share of potato, Panzanella and pasta salads. But they still manage to come off as heavier than their noodle brethren. So, while they can bridge the great divide between summer and winter, I feel they lack a little of the refreshment you can readily find in a noodle.
But enough about my thoughts on summertime carbs, let’s talk about this Chilled Soba Salad. So, this isn’t a completely cook-free recipe. You do have to poach the shrimp, but luckily this recipe only calls for 20 minutes of heat. And most of those 20 minutes are spent simmering the poaching liquid, which you don’t really have to be present for. You could totally hang AC-side for the entire duration. And, trust me, your house will smell bangin’ afterward. Think sake, lime peel, black peppercorns, garlic, and ginger. It’s a very sexy smell.
The rest of this Chilled Soba Salad is mostly stirring and chopping. Yes, you do have to cook the soba noodles but they only cook for 5 minutes and then you get to run them under cold water, which on a hot day really is a treat… at least it is for me. But aside from the noodles, you’re mostly chopping cucumber and balling melon. You can’t get more summer-friendly than this.
The dressing is also a cool, breezy walk in the park. Essentially, you whisk a little coconut milk and miso paste together and you’re done. Then you just pour the stuff over the noodles, give it a toss and deck ‘em out with fresh veggies and juicy plump shrimp. And this Chilled Soba Salad not only tastes delicious, it looks delicious, so if you’re looking to impress at an outdoor luncheon (I absolutely love that word) this is the salad for it.
So that’s pretty much everything you need to know about this Chilled Soba Salad. It really is a summertime delight and will probably be on repeat in this household through to October. Trust me when I say you’re gonna want to get in on this action for the dressing alone.
Chilled Soba Salad with Sake Poached Shrimp
Sake Poached Shrimp
- 1 400g, 14oz bag shrimp, deveined and peeled
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sake
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 1-inch knob fresh ginger, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 1 scallion coarsely chopped
Miso Coconut Dressing
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 1-inch knob ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
Chilled Soba Salad
- 1 363g, 13oz package soba noodles
- 1/2 cucumber spiralized
- 1 batch Coconut Miso Dressing see above
- 1 batch Sake Poached Shrimp see above
- 1/2 cucumber quartered & sliced
- 1 bunch red kale stalks removed
- 1 cup sugar snap peas cut into thirds
- 1/4 honey dew melon balled
- 3-4 scallions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
For the Shrimp
- Place the shrimp in a medium-sized bowl with the baking soda. Toss to coat the shrimp. Transfer the shrimp to the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes. This will give the shrimp a pleasant “springy” texture.
- Pour the water and sake into a saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and place the saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the shrimp to the simmering poaching liquid and poach over low heat until the shrimp turns coral. About 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the shrimp to a plastic bag and dunk it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Place the shrimp in a bowl and place them in the fridge to cool completely.
For the Dressing
- Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
For the Salad
- Cook the soba noodles according to the package’s direction. Drain the cooked noodles and rinse them under cold water. Use your finger to delicately tease the noodles apart. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl along with the spiralized cucumber.
- Pour the dressing over top of the noodle/cucumber mix and toss to coat.
- Top the noodles with the shrimp, the remaining fruit and veg, and the peanuts.
- Chill until ready to serve or serve immediately.