Hot weather dining: Super easy, spicy soba with cold vegetables

spicy soba with cold vegetablesThe hot, humid weather continues here in Boston, and is such that turning on the oven or standing over a pan on the stove seems absolutely out of the question. Even grilling does not appeal in this sticky weather. Last week we had some electrical work done, in the course of which the glass on the kitchen ceiling fan broke. Until we get it replaced, the kitchen is fairly intolerable to be in for any length of time.

I’ve recently discovered the joys of soba – thin buckwheat noodles common to Japanese cooking, and which can be served hot, at room temperature, or cold. soba noodlesBecause of this, they are a very flexible ingredient, as you can boil the noodles, rinse them with cold water, and let them sit until you are ready to use them; none of that rush to pull a dinner together while everything is hot.

So, last night soba noodles seemed like just the thing. In the past, I’ve sautéed vegetables and tofu to add to the noodles, and we’ve had them warm/room temp. But last night I was out of tofu, and really didn’t feel like standing over a hot pan sautéeing anything. Yes, you have to boil the noodles, but it’s easy enough to put a pan of water on to boil, leave the room for about ten minutes, come back when the water is boiling and drop in the noodles. They cook quickly (about 5 minutes), so while they cooked I quickly chopped up some scallion, washed and rough-chopped a few spinach leaves, and pulled a handful of bean sprouts from a bag in the fridge. Four ingredients make a quick (also uncooked) sauce. I didn’t even break a sweat.

photo 1Of course, you could use whatever vegetables you like in this; I used what I had on hand and didn’t have to cook. Red pepper and asparagus, lightly sauteed, are fantastic in this. Adjust the sriracha to your taste; the amount listed below makes a moderately to very spicy sauce.

Spicy soba with cold vegetables

serves 2

  • 2 T tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 T mirin
  • 1-2 T sriracha chili sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 T peanut butter (preferably natural)photo 4
  • 6-7 oz soba noodles
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • big handful of spinach leaves (or baby spinach)
  • big handful of bean sprouts

Whisk first four ingredients together in a bowl. Cook noodles according to your package directions; when they are done, drain in a colander and rinse well with cold water to cool them down. Drain again.

While noodles are cooking, chop the scallions, rough chop the spinach (no need if using baby spinach) and add both to a big bowl with the bean sprouts. When noodles are cooled & drained, add them to the bowl on top of the vegetables. Pour the sauce over everything and use tongs to gently mix the noodles and vegetables together until everything is coated with sauce.

Serve & enjoy!

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