Warm salad of Soba noodles & Yakitori chicken
Multiple influences with one confluence: a warm salad of soba noodles with yakitori chicken!
I love warm salads, be it a mix of cooked veggies or cooked carbs combined with fresh veggies. I haven’t made them for a while…been caught up with life, preparing to go to London and all the rest. Anyway, When I saw this salad at Chaya’s, it inspired me to make this salad. Don’t ask me how, it just did. And the chicken, hmmm that was a combo of a recipe in a cookbook I have and me having some in a resturant some weeks ago. Plus the fact that when M came, I made a soba noodle stir-fry with pan-seared Tuna.
But this time, I decided that colour and contrast were at the top of my least hence the salad. Not to forget taste and spice and a chance to use my chopsticks and stands, my sushi mat and my skewers which I had forgotten I had! Morale of this story – don’t buy things and keep them far away…you just might forget you have them! (Which is almost what happened to me!)
If you don’t know anything about the ‘belle of the ball’, here are 5 quick facts about Soba noodles
- They are handmade
- For them to qualify as soba noodles, they must be made of at least 30% buckwheat. Since buckwheat has a tendency not to adhere closely, they also include regular wheat flower. They resemble spaghetti except they are a light brown in color. There are various varietied – noodles from only buckwheat, those made with a blend of wheat and buckwheat, and flavoured varieties e.g. cha soba which has green tea powder (Matcha).
- Soba noodles have square ends – at least the ones I’ve cooked! When I looked at the noodles, I found that the ends were square….I don’t know if all soba noodles are made that way but that was an interesting observation for me.
- Soba noodles are generally eaten chilled in the summer and hot in the winter
- On New Years Eve, soba noodles are served quite often. Japanese custom demands one to slurp the noodles in a noisy fashion, as this is considered polite. In America, it used to be customary to give bread to new homeowners as a means for welcoming them into their home. In Japan, traditionally, uncooked soba noodles were given when families would move into or purchase a new house!
A lot of people think serving the noodles chilled accentuates the flavours and preserves the texture better. And so I decided to make a hot salad of it 🙂 with some crunch and spice! Hope you enjoy it.
Yakitori sauce3 tablespoons light soy sauce 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar) 40g granulated sugar 0.5 litre vegetable or chicken stock 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped or grated 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed 1 tablespoon cornflour/flour to thicken (optional; if using, make into a paste by mixing with 3-4 tablespoons of water)
Chicken and Vegetable skewers1/4 of green pepper, chopped into large chunks 1/4 of yellow pepper, chopped into large chunks 1/4 of red pepper, chopped into large chunks 1/2 a red onion, chopped into large chunks 1 chicken breast, chopped into large chunks 6 Skewers (If using wooden skewers, soak in water for an hour before use)
To prepare yakitori sauce
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 5 minutes
If necessary, thicken with a little cornflour/flour paste and cook on low heat for a couple of minutes till cooked through.
Leave to cool.
When sauce is ready, keep some sauce aside to serve with your cooked chicked and leave the rest for the marinade
Dice the vegetables and chicken into large chunks, about 2.5cm pieces.
Then alternating chicken and vegetables, thread the pieces on the skewers. This went very well for me till it was time to marinade and that was when I had a little hiccup.
Using my lovely Japanese sword skewers and clean hands, I strung up the meat and veg in large chunks/pieces and then tried to marinate in the cooled yakitori marinade but alas my bowl was not deep enough for the skewered meat-veg to soak in the marinade and so I took everything off the skewers and let the pieces marinade in the refigerator for about an hour, turning them after half an hour to make sure that every inch received some sweet, sweet juice. When that was done, I threaded them back on. Problem #1 solved.
Now on to problem #2. The plan was to cook the yakatori chicken in my grill pan on the stove top and I tried but I noticed that because the bits where large, they weren’t cooking right through.
This was easily solved though, by popping the pan under the grill for a bit longer than planned and basting them with the yakitori sauce half way through to ensure chicken was cooked and tasty. (About 15 minutes all together). I was also really worried about the skewer handles but they turned out ok. Thankfully.
When the chicken is ready, turn off the heat in the oven and leave the tray of chicken at the very bottom to stay warm while you finish off your salad. Glad to say this oven warming had no adverse effect on the tastes/textures so once again, I ‘scaped/scaled’ through!
Soba Noodle salad
While the chicken and veggies marinated, I went about making my noodles. The pack I got had three individually wrapped bundles of noodles and I decided that I bundle would be enough for two – hubby and I. I followed the suggestions at the back of the pack on how to cook the noodles!
From start to finish.
When the noodles were ready, I chopped up some veggies, finely – mixed peppers and 2 spring onions, and stirred in to the noodles.
Peanut butter and wasabi dressing
Then I made a quick peanut butter dressing (more cupboard love) with some wasabi for heat and light soy for taste3 Tablespoons of peanut butter 5 Tablespoons of Light soy sauce Wasabi paste (optional) 100 ml Water (or more)
In a pan on low heat, warm peanut butter till it starts to melt.
Stir in the wasabi paste and then add the soy sauce, mixing all the time
Slowly drizzle in the water, stirring till you have a fluid mixture, slightly thicker than the consistency of single (pouring) cream. Don’t overheat as wasabi loses its peculiar flavour if cooked too long!
To this dressing, I put in my cooked soba noodles and chopped up veggies and tossed them all together.
And so without further ado, I present to you my peanut butter and wasabi dressed soba noodles with easy yakitori chicken. And please forgive the grainy pictures. I seem to be in the habit of starting out with gorgeous photos – in daylight to grainy, slightly poorer photos when the food is ready: time past and time well spent, of course with a heavy bumped up ISO setting. Do you have the same problems????
Anyway, I also try to eat all my noodle dishes with chopsticks and I must say I’m improving with my technique. Ha ha….otherwise, regular eating aka fork (and knife) would do nicely.
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