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 was really excited for this challenge, because we had most of the things on hand to make it, and because I knew we would eat the same day we started! No driving about town for pork belly or multi-day confit preparations. Don’t get me wrong, the cassoulet was a great challenge and DELICIOUS – but required a lot of advance planning.
This dish? Made for a Sunday lunch, no trips to the store required.
Soba is a type of thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. It is served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup.
Hiyashi Soba is a popular dish in summer in Japan and is essentially a noodle salad. Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried.
Cook soba in salted boiling water until just al dente.
Drain, rinse with cold water until chilled.
Set aside until ready to use, covering with a damp towel. I also tossed mine with a few sprinkles of sesame oil to keep the noodles separated.
Mentsuyu (traditional dipping sauce):
0.33 C mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 C dashi (I used some instant powdered dashi I had in the fridge – total cheating but still tasty)
0.33 C soy sauce
Put mirin in a small saucepan and heat gently. Add soy sauce and dashi to the pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, place noodles in a small bowl. We added some chili garlic paste and poured the dipping sauce over the top, but you could serve it on the side as well.
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 C flour
1 C very, very cold sparkling or soda water
Things to batter and fry (we used halved mushrooms, sliced red bell peppers, green beans, and shrimp).
Fill deep-fryer with oil and heat to 350F. When the oil is ready, mix egg, flour, and sparkling water. Work quickly to keep the batter cold.
Dip your items into the batter, shake off excess, and add to fryer in small batches.
Do not crowd the fryer, lest the temperature drop and your stuff end up very, very greasy (yuck).
Items are done when they are floating at the top of the oil and are beginning to brown around the edges.
Drain on paper towels, salt lightly if desired, and keep hot until ready to serve.
Tempura green beans.
HUGE Sunday lunch the day of the Super Bowl. It feels weird to me to dip noodles in a sauce, so I went ahead and poured some of the mentsuyu I made over the noodles in the bowl. Also, topped with some chili garlic sauce because I just had to do it.
So yummy! Thanks for a fun challenge, Lisa!