Because we did not move this past weekend after all, we ended up with a bit of free time which we used to do some overdue purging. I’m sorry if this shatters your misplaced image of me as some sort of domestic goddess, but my signature move is shoving something into a closet and slamming the door before anything falls out and then willfully ignoring its pleas for mercy — come on, you do it too, right? anyone? Sigh. And so we dug out, removing three giant trash bags of stuff we should have gotten rid of a while ago, two of clothes and one of (shh, please don’t tell on us) toys. Just 10 or 12 move before this apartment is Pinterest-ready! i.e. vast amounts of open space uncluttered by the existence of actual human beings.
I also unearthed all sorts of wonders I’ve hung onto for far too long to get rid of now, such as my most prized possession of the year 1982, a hairband from the original Annie movie, my lifeguard certification card from 1996 and the dorky Ann Taylor shirt I was wearing when I met my husband in 2003, something you’ll no doubt see Stacy London clucking her tongue over one day when I finally land my own What Not To Wear episode (a girl can dream, right?).
I’d file the above objects under “Deb is weird but these things can be rationalized.” I cannot say the same for the darker stuff I insist upon holding onto: the tail end of any kind of food item. Much to my husband’s exasperation, nothing is too small for me to save, be it a single splash of soy sauce in a bottle, two cornichons in the bottom of jar or that last dusting of flour that never fits in my canister when I refill. Because how many times have we all been there, that place where you have everything you need for a recipe save one tablespoon of soy sauce? It’s like I believe if I don’t throw away that last glug when we don’t need it, I’m setting up enough karma that I’ll always have it when do, even though nothing in my cooking experience has even proven this correct. I have problems. I know this.
Fortunately, I found just the recipe to help these items on their way to the next world (our bellies) in my new favorite cold noodle dish. With a base of the miso that’s been languishing in my fridge for the better part of a year (good thing miso has a shelf life that rivals Twinkies), the aforementioned soy sauce whose existence is going to prematurely age my husband, limes leftover from a recent fajita night and some cut rate mirin I couldn’t bring myself to part with, the thin sauce for the noodles is refreshing with just the right spicy/salty/punchy kick. Buckwheat noodles (the kind you buy and forget about, if you’re us) are my favorite here, with a nuttiness that makes them so much more filling than their pale counterparts. And because only a small handful of vegetables are needed to fill the dish out, I got to make use of (I wish I was joking) the twelve string beans, single cucumber, four radishes and three miniature carrots we didn’t eat last week. You can use any you’ve got around; this is a flexible dish. What matters is that you try it soon, because it’s the perfect meal for a sticky summer day when dinner cannot be cold enough.
One year ago: Strawberry, Lime and Black Pepper Popsicles
Two years ago: Mediterranean Baked Feta with Tomatoes
Three years ago: Naked Tomato Sauce
Four years ago: Sweet and Smoky Oven Spare Ribs
Five years ago: Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad
Six years ago: Blueberry Crumb Bars and Napa Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Seven years ago: Summer Berry Pudding
Cold Noodles with Miso, Lime and Ginger
Adapted, just a bit, from David Tanis
Serves 4 as a light meal or appetizer; for bigger appetites, you might want to double this
Noodles and vegetables
8 ounces buckwheat noodles
A mixture of raw vegetables of your choice (such as carrots, cucumbers, radishes or daikon; see Note for more suggestions)
2 to 3 tablespoons miso (red is recommend; white would be just fine)
1 2-inch piece ginger, finely grated
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 1 lime), plus lime wedges for serving
Cook the noodles in well-salted water until tender but firm for the time recommended on your package of noodles. What, your package is only in Japanese, like mine? Most are cooked between 5 and 8 minutes, so test at 5 and add more minutes if needed.
Meanwhile, grate, julienne or thinly slice vegetables of your choice.
Drain noodles and run cold water over them to cool. Drain again, shaking out excess water.
Make the dressing by whisking the smaller amount of miso plus the remaining sauce ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust to make sweeter (with more sugar) or more intense and salty (with the last tablespoon of miso) if desired.
Divide noodles among four bowls; toss each with a tablespoon of the sauce, plus more to taste. Top with vegetables and extra droplets of sauce. Serve with lime wedges.
The leftovers won’t keep well with the sauce on. It’s best to keep it in one container and the noodles and vegetables in another, combining when needed, if you have extras.
- Mirin is a rice wine, similar to sake but lower in alcohol and much more sweet. If you can’t find it or don’t wish to buy it (a bottle of the basic stuff is usually around or just under $5), you might try using sake, or a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and white wine or just water, I’d say 1 tablespoon of each liquid plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar to replace the 2 tablespoons of mirin recommended below.
- If you have access to an Asian grocery store (New Yorkers, I use the M2M shops often), see if you can find 100 percent buckwheat soba noodles (which would also be gluten-free); they’re inexpensive and wonderful here. Mine had a mix of buckwheat and wheat flour, which is more common. If you cannot find them, you can use rice noodles or even spaghetti in a pinch. Here’s a good read on different Asian noodles.
- Use whichever medley of cold, crunchy vegetables you’d like here; Tanis recommends daikon (a long, white mild radish), cucumber, radishes, radish sprouts and shiso leaves; I cleaned out my produce drawer with some julienned carrots, thinly sliced string beans, radishes, cucumbers and some wasabi micro-greens I couldn’t resist at the Greenmarket. Tanis suggests soaking grated daikon in the sauce, which I have no doubt mellows it, but I wanted to keep things simpler here.
- I should forewarn that 3 tablespoons of red miso (a saltier, more intense version of white miso; you can use white miso here too if you don’t have red) will make a very salty sauce. We liked it, but we also used just a little per bowl. You can use the full amount and go easy on the sauce as we did, bump up the sugar, or you can start with less of the miso and only add more to taste. I’m recommending the latter above.
130 comments on cold noodles with miso, lime and ginger
I will make this as soon as I find the right noodles! In the meantime: which Microplane zester model is the one in the photo? (I checked out your equipment page, and that link goes to a Microplane without handle which I don’t think I want. And they have so many models that I have slunk out of the kitchenware section more than once, thoroughly bewildered.) Help me, please!
Perfect time to clean out the fridge and aren’t cold noodles the best thing in the hot summer? Good luck on that move!
Deb, Sorry to hear that you didn’t move but glad to hear we can expect an amazing new apartment. I’m definitely guilty of the shutting a closet and hoping the door will actually shut before something falls out. This looks amazing and I love these flavor combinations. I think I may actually have everything to make it tonight :)
This sounds delicious! I’m currently living in Japan, and I just noticed that the package of noodles in your photo is labeled as soba (buckwheat noodles), but you recommend udon in your notes. Udon is usually thicker than soba and made from white wheat. Did you mean soba in the notes as well? Thanks!
I’m always so nervous to make Asian cuisine because it looks so involved, but you make it look so easy! My refrigerator is full with veggies from my CSA that I’m running out of things to do with them – this would be perfect to use them up! Now I have to buy miso and mirin – do they sell that at the grocery store?
Cold noodles are good for any time of the day! I have been know to eat these for a late night snack or as breakfast the nest day with a poached egg.
Gosh coming from my asian family, we have little jars of left over sauces and spices that could only total to a max of 100ml. Oh the perils of the a full pantry.
I just cleaned out my fridge yesterday. I am totally guilty of keeping and forgetting lots of things in there, it was pretty scary. I am also guilty of pantry hoarding, so from time to time I avoid going to the grocery store and make myself come up with dishes to use stuff up, this recipe looks perfect.
Oh and P.s. What not to wear is no longer in production and I am incredibly sad. I loved that show!
Wow you’re right this is the perfect meal to this sticky summer! I saw something similar in Taste and Home but this looks more delicious!
Never apologize for having a Monica closet. Anyone who doesn’t is the person we all
victoria — I totally forgot about that episode. I feel so much better now.
Angela — Nooooo! I could have been a contender! Is Stacy doing something else now? (Yes, I suppose I could Google that myself.)
AM — I did, I realize. And, of course, I could not read a word of the package. Thanks for letting me know.
Annette — It should be this one. It doesn’t grate the ginger coarse or even work particularly well for it (it’s a lot of rubbing). I’d actually wanted to ask you or anyone if they have experience with the porcelain kind of ginger grater. I look at them and it seems IMPOSSIBLE that they could do a good job (without a metal blade or grate) but there are all these rave reviews! Is this some sort of Amazon paid review shadiness or are they really the best way to grate ginger?
I am the same way! My house is typically very clean just don’t look in my closets! This dish looks great! Blessings on the move!
haha! I love that you save everything. I have a hard time parting with food items (although, if it were up to me, I would have ended up throwing away my old yearbooks until my boyfriend convinced me to save them for my kids one day). This sounds like a great dish!
miso that’s been languishing in my fridge for the better part of a year (good thing miso has a shelf life that rivals Twinkies), ….
Excellent news! I’ve been wondering the same thing
Glad to hear I’m not the only one who dreams of being ambushed by Stacy and Clinton… I’ve never tried cold noodles, but these look delicious!
What a lovely little recipe, I love ones like this that can be adapted to just use up those bits, be vegatrian and taste great. I’ve just been having a conversation about good vegetarian meals :)
I’ve always been a bit intimidated by miso, I’m not sure why. This recipe looks so simple and and delicious, I think I’m going to get over my miso fears and but some next time I’m at the store! Thanks for the recipe!
My husband is the SAME WAY when it comes to food ends! Ugh, drives me crazy. It’s always, like, a handful of chocolate chips or three crackers. My main problem is that if I see the container in the pantry, I don’t think to buy more…so frustrating when I go to make cookies and find only four lonely individual chocolate chips in the bag. Sigh.
No, Deb! No! I love you too much for you to be the last of the weird food hoarder! My husband always tries to sneak half a spoonful of sour cream back into the fridge or one lonely pickle chip or a tablespoon and a half of milk still in the bottom of the carton and I’m terrible and won’t let him. I always force it onto his plate and tell him to eat it anyway :) Mean wife! These look good though for 12 green beans
looks amazing, definitely going to give it a try!
HaHa Pinterest ready…for me that took nearly 28 years! Seriously! I used to laugh at friends and think that THEY lived in “frat” houses, when secretly SO WAS I! My Pappy came thru and helped us out, as well as BOTH my kids are now in their own apartments and WHAM – it’s all sparkly and bright in here with all new stuffs! This recipe looks delish as well! Good Luck when you do get to move – and KEEP ON PURGING as they say! Purge is my middle name! WEEEEE!
I had to laugh about your housekeeping comments. I have been happily married 26 years now. I am better than I used to be, but still somehow messy. Not far into our marriage my husband decided that a few extra pounds and a messy house correlate with a wife who cooks well and loves sex. He considers it a very worthwhile trade off.
There is nothing like a move for decluttering. I need to get back at it since I have been in the same place 3 years now. I used to have the excuse of kids, but they are all up and out and still I seem to not have time to clean.
These noodles will be our dinner tonight probably using rice noodles as I may be out of soba. Bibs and bobs from our garden will go well here.
Also for some reason the grater from IKEA with the finer blade seems to work really well for ginger. It is a cheap oval thing.
Oh, how I needed a laugh today! And a great recipe, too! Your house sounds very familiar….my family and I would be quite at home there :) Now, to go find where I stashed my trash bags….
Looks delicious, can’t wait to try on one of these humid August evenings. As for a ginger grater — I received a new box grater for Christmas last year and it’s the kind with the small insert in the bottom to collect all of your grated business. If you take the insert out it has all these sharp, little, plastic nubbins aligned in concentric circles with which to wear down ginger and garlic into a satisfying pulp. I was skeptical, but it actually works quite well. Logic stands that if the design is similar to the porcelain models, that those would also work well. I wish I could give you the make and model of my box grater, but unfortunately I don’t know it, because reasons.
This looks perfect for August!
I have a porcelain ginger grater. It removes all of the strings, which you then get to unwind from around the spikes. I used it for years before having an epiphany watching a friend grate unpeeled ginger on a box grater and just throw it in. I’ll keep the porcelain one for when I basically want ginger juice but it’s not going to get used much from here on out.
The only mirin I can ever find in my area is ‘aji mirin’, and I’ve always wondered if I’m using the mirin the recipes call for or something totally different.
Shari — From reading this, it seems like aji mirin is the equivalent of cooking wine; you wouldn’t drink it, but it’s passable in a dish if you’re not very picky. (I am not, apparently, or I just haven’t finetuned my tastebuds enough to be!). The other kind, hon mirin, doesn’t have added sugar or salt and has a higher alcohol content, enough that it’s probably only sold in wine stores. I’m glad your question got me to look that up! I was curious, too.
handfulofshadows — What a great tip. I’m trying that next time, thanks.
Porcelain graters — Thanks for the feedback; I might pick one up to see… (See also: I will never learn the lesson to own less stuff, will I?)
Ginger grating: Some time back, I started to put my ginger in the freezer right after buying it, so it wouldn’t go bad. (I don’t use ginger that much, but tend to buy a large-ish amount.) I then realized that it is absolutely brilliant to grate it from the freezer directly. Because it is frozen to a hard block, it grates very smoothly (no threads hanging loose) and quite fine — even the small holes of a regular grater do a good job, so I don’t even use a microplane, though that would grate even more finely. Try it.
Just looked at Elise’s ginger tips, and she has the freezer suggestion too! Now you really have to try it.
I will be making this tonight! We are in monsoon season, so Phoenix is past its famous “dry heat” and it is muggy and 102. We have used the Japanese porcelain grater for years and love it (also kinder you your hand if you get too close). It gives you just the juice and pulp, leaves the stringy fiber behind. So it’s great if you want ginger flavor throughout the dish, as opposed to the pop and bite of julienned bits scattered through the dish. Works on frozen ginger, too. You do not have to peel it, fresh or frozen.
To add to your indecision, I see a lot of those porcelain graters at the thrift stores. People are either cleaning out seldom used kitchen items or doesn’t think they work well.
I see graters at the thrift stores way too much to think they are a necessity.
Hoping to get the family to try this – looks great to me but they regard all new things with suspicion. Cold noodles? Weird, Mom!
By the way, if Jacob likes the piggy & elephant books, you should check out Mr Putter & tabby books, too. Similar reading level, but an older man and his cat, and their adventures. We particularly like “Mr. Putter and Tabby Pick the Pears”. Very funny. And the neighbor lady is always baking things for Mr. Putter.
Ginger – freeze it first, then grate while frozen, I use an original rasp type grater and it comes out very fine! This is actually a tip from Chef Michael Smith (who also recommends freezing butter for scones/buns and grating it on course side of a box grater)
Oops, bad habit of mine, didn’t/don’t read the rest of the comments and realize I’ve duplicated handfulofshadows comment! Great minds, etc. (grin)
I’ve found my method for ginger. I just get a whole bunch, wash and trim it up — don’t peel it! I then grate it all up in my good processor and strain the juice out through cheese cloth or butter muslin. The resulting juice us really punchy and I freeze it in ice cube trays, pop the cubes out into a ziploc. Whenever I need ginger for a recipe (we use it a lot!) I just get out 1 cube per tablespoon called for in the recipe. Pop it in a glass dish and microwave it until melted (or directly into a cooking pot). Easy peasy! Plus, no chunks to muddle up dressings.
i am such a sucker for any time soy sauce and ginger hang out together! looks wonderful, deb!!!
Oh this is my kind of lunch! I have the vegetables, dressing and a bag of Chinese noodles. Must make this for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for sharing, Deb!
Re ginger, why not buy it already minced from supermarket or Indian grocery and not worry about equipment, which one can have too much of!
Great tips about freezing ginger–I usually end up composting a sad remnant. And I am also guilty of piles of things that should get thrown out or recycled. When it comes to foodstuffs, a lot of things past their prime go into our compost bin and enrich the garden, so that removes all guilt in that category!
Re: ginger graters… I’ve had a similar experience to Jenni (#26). For years we used nothing but a porcelain ginger grater and I secretly loathed it. I felt like I was throwing out so much of the ginger root b/c of how much catches on the tines and then I hated cleaning the darn thing. Well, after 15+ years, it broke about a month ago and I grabbed the box grater in desperation. I’ll never go back to a porcelain grater again — single use, pain to clean and doesn’t do the job better than another kitchen tool that has multiple purposes. Too many strikes against it! ;)
This looks wonderful, I love soba noodles! Can’t wait to use this at the end of the week, when I know our beach house fridge will have all sorts of strange amounts of veggies left over from this and that.
We love Gerald and Piggie! I’m laughing just thinking about it!
Deb: looks great, and I’m always trying to find new twists on Asian inspired noodle dishes. Quick question: thoughts on subbing tahini for miso? I know it would change the flavor a bit, but I have the same “bottom of the jar” problem as you, and it’s tahini… :)
Helen, I make a variation of this dish quite often using tahini instead of miso and red wine vinegar instead of lime juice. Sometimes I add a splash of sesame oil too. As Deb says, it is a very flexible end-of-bottle dressing, just mix until you get the flavor you like. I find it goes particularly well with cold steamed broccoli and shredded chicken, for packed lunch or potluck picnic.
Wow… it looks delicious ♥ I think I will try this recipe.
Thanks for sharing :)
I’m definitely not a cold noodle person, but this looks really yummy and refreshing!
Hey Deb, you mentioned gluten free soba noodles.If the noodles are both buckwheat and wheat flour how can they be gluten free? Ive been avoiding them because of that.
Made this last night, thanks for the easy and fun recipe. I tossed in scallions, carrots, jicama, and edamame with some ramen noodles I purchased on a whim. I may have to keep this dressing in the fridge premade so I can toss it on cooked veggies too. I love that so many of your recipes are fun and easy dinners. I look forward to cooking dinner because you have such interesting ideas.
So, question for you: What would you do with jicama? I’ve seen it as a ‘healthy french fry’ substitute uncooked, but I’m sure there are better ways to use it and I’d love to hear your thoughts sometime.
Thefoxwithnosocks — Great name. :) You can peel jicama and slice it thin, thought it’s more common in juliennes, and put it raw into this noodle dish or other salads. I’ve never used it as a french fry substitute; I love french fries too much.
Laura — I said that 100% buckwheat noodles, if you can find them, are gluten-free. I did not find them, mostly because I couldn’t read any of the packages where I shopped. I will add the word “more” between “is” and “common” to hopefully help clarify.
Helen — No reason not to, but you might then need to fiddle with the other ingredients to adjust the flavor. Tahini often benefits from a spoonful of water to keep it from getting too thick. You might want more soy or to add salt to make up for the salt you’d be missing in the miso.
Ann — Thanks for the suggestion. I was hoping to surprise Jacob in his new room with a pile of new books. He’ll be at home there in no time!
Susan — Ha! Great observation.
When I buy ginger I cut it into 1″ segments, then put them in a large jar, cover them with the cheap sherry wine I use in cooking, then into the fridge. This keeps very well and gives me great flavored wine for cooking.
The porcelain graters generate a ‘slush’ and are most effective with new/young ginger. FYI, it is a lot of work for little yield. And they are useless for older ginger that is drier (which is what I always seem to have on hand since I purchase ginger with grand ambitions that never materialize). I don’t personally have the patience for a porcelain grater (shhh – don’t tell the Japanese side of my family) I always revert to the microplane. Even though it is small, like you I try not to have kitchen devices that only serve a single purpose.
Ah yes, this all describes me to a T, including the small amounts of veggies this meal calls for. Perfect! :)
Um your moving week leftover creations are so much more aesthetically pleasing than mine. Moving week combined with my inability to waste food always makes for very interesting meals…
I think you’re a total genius for saving splashes of soy sauce, etc, because your logic makes total sense. But then, I used to have a collection of pencil shavings, so…
This dish looks fantastic and the perfect “we’re moving and cleaning out our fridge” recipe. My husband and I moved a few months ago and our moving dinner consisted of frozen tater tots and mozzarella sticks. Oh, and frozen peas.
I made this last night & it was absolutely delicious!! I doubled the sauce to have again today because I already knew before we were going to love it. *duh* I had white miso & it worked perfectly. Cleaned out some of the veggie drawer: shredded carrot, chopped scallions & red pepper, very thinly slice cucumbers & radish. Was going to instagram a pic but we gobbled it up too fast.
As for the porcelain ginger grater… I love mine & wouldn’t be without it. The fibers that get caught in the the teeth of the ginger are what your aren’t supposed use anyway. Super easy to clean too.
I’m enjoying your book. Today I’m going to try the dumpling peaches. I’m sure they will be a hit.
Just made this and it was delicious – thank you! Had an aubergine/eggplant lurking in the fridge, so I chopped it fairly small, tossed it in a little sesame oil and roasted it for 15 minutes or so, before letting it cool and adding it to raw vegetables. Good luck with your move!
You are so funny. I do the same things too, I was thinking about this today while refilling my flour jar. That last part of flour that never fits in, ugh! I hate the look of that flour package inside my cabinet but I just can’t get myself to throw it away… So I hide it, it gets forgotten, etc.
So many great tips about ginger, thank you everyone. I grate ginger with a normal grater, with the small side.
Also, I don’t know if this is normal but I am terribly excited about your move and your new kitchen. Hope everything goes smoothly :)
I forgot to say that I sometimes use a mortar and pestle for ginger. Works great!
Another method for storing ginger: buy lots, chop or grate, cover with sherry and store in a jar the fridge. Lasts forever, and the ginger and sherry meld beautifully and are great in all savory recipes (squeezed works for baking). Picked this up from my ancient Moosewood cookbook.
Looking forward to our youngest son and his wife making this noodle dish for us, as they spent 2 years in Japan, and love Japanese food. They are living with us, along with their adorable baby girl, who is going to be my incentive to finally purge and baby proof. At almost 6 months, she is crawling all over the place, including over the pillows that kept her away from sharp corners LAST week.
Tried this today for dinner and it turned out really well! I used noodles I had on hand, 1/2 lime, rice vinegar, and brown sugar. A little bit of ginger goes a long way! And I LOVED the kick from the cayenne. Will be adding this to my regular rotation. Thanks Deb!
I love m little porcelain grater for ginger – it’s shaped like a flounder. If I want juice/pulp, I use the porcelain grater, and if I want more substance, I slice/smash/mince. My tip for getting all the ginger pulp out off the porcelain grater and into the dish is to rinse it with a small amount of one of the liquid ingredients for the dish – in this case, I would use the mirin.
I love this vegan friendly recipe and can’t wait to try it.
Just popping by to say that I just made this (doubled it so a friend with a new baby also gets fed well) and, though it’s only 10:30am in Seattle, I’ve already inhaled an entire bowl. All in the name of testing. Holy cow. So delicious.
I have more at least fifty of your recipes and have never been disappointed. How is that possible? I think you have secret powers.
Moving? Oy vey. Completely off topic here, but I want to bake some bread. I want to use oz. or grams instead of “a cup”. I’ve googled this subject and the amount varies — ranging from 4.2 oz. to 5 oz. Grrrrr. What do you weigh out for All Purpose Flour? Many thanks and have fun moving! p.s. I cleaned out a cupboard in my kitchen recently and found a can (way, way in the back) with the “use by” date, hold you breath, I win this contest, 1998!!!!!
Sadly, I will never in my lifetime make anything as healthy as this, plus I don’t think I have one thing here in my pantry/cupboards.
I just wanted to say, thinking of you in your great move, and patting your shoulder that it will all work out fine.
Tried this last night with pickling cukes, summer squash and corn and brown rice noodles from Trader Joe’s. Absolutely delicious! I had no mirin but used, as suggested, some rice wine vinegar with water and agave and it was perfect. Thanks for the great recipe Deb! Excited for leftovers tonight!
we made this last night — marinated (and sauteed) some chicken in extra dressing that i made. i added a bit of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds to the dish and we had a really hard time cutting ourselves off. this is SUCH a great summer meal. it’s what i’ve been wanting to eat for the last sticky hot month and didn’t know it. refreshing and delicious. we made ours with bean sprouts, radishes, zucchini, and sliced snow peas.
thanks for being my go-to for cooking something i know won’t miss the mark! deb strikes again!
I just made this up last night (for lunches for the rest of the week) and it’s FABULOUS! Though I used sweet potato noodles cause I saw them in the store and welp that was that!
Marie M.C. — It’s totally aggravating for me too! Nobody agrees; there isn’t one correct answer. I call 1 cup of flour 125 grams, which is 4.4 ounces. This both matches the weight given on my bags of King Arthur All-Purpose Flour and is what spooned-and-swept or fluffed-spooned-and-swept cups clock in as on my scale. If a recipe gives you a weight, best to defer to that. (Some pastry chefs and magazines consider 1 cup = 5 ounces! If you don’t follow this, you might not have enough flour for it to work as planned.) If not, I think 125 to 130 grams is a safe bet for most American recipes.
Hi! I always have the hardest time cooking soba noodles. I use a very large pot and a large amount of water and it always gets super foamy and threatens to overflow. I have to stand and watch the pot like a hawk for the entire time stirring and adjusting heat so it doesn’t. Do you have any tips for cooking the noodles? Does this happen to anyone else?
Jocelyn — I haven’t experienced it with the soba noodles I’ve been using lately, but this will occasionally happen to me with various pasta brands. I just turn down the heat and if the foam is particularly heavy, skim it.
So glad you posted this recipe, I use to have a copy of a recipe very similar to this one but it also had curry powder in it, couldn’t seem to relocate it so I decided to try yours and I just loved it. Thanks!
Delicious! I added a few spoonfuls of sesame oil and sprinkled on black sesame seeds. For the commenter above, I think tahini would work very nicely.
Hard to tell from photo, but I think the “mirin” you are using is mostly glucose. Check the ingredients! Real mirin is made only from rice and has the same alcohol content as sake (12-14%). It should not contain glucose, corn syrup, or salt.
Kikkoman makes both real mirin and the fake stuff. Depending on your state’s liquor laws, real mirin might be sold only at licensed stores.
Real mirin is complex, with a mild sweetness. It has enzymes and umami. If you can find it, it’s worth the higher price.
Rather than use the fake stuff, I’d go with sake and a little sugar.
It’s hot & sticky in Honolulu today so this sounds perfect for lunch! I do serve cold soba pretty often but somehow never thought of using miso in the dressing.
Jocelyn – When cooking soba, Japanese cooks add a bit of cold water each time the water starts to foam up.
Japanese usually don’t add salt to the water for noodles. The sauce provides plenty of salt.
If you have good quality soba made with a high proportion of buckwheat, the leftover cooking water is delicious. When cold soba is served with a separate dipping sauce, it’s common to finish the meal with a light “soup” made by adding some of the hot “soba-yu” cooking water to the sauce & condiments remaining in the cup.
First an apology – Deb, I did skim comments but didn’t notice #50. So I see that you’re aware of the difference between real & fake mirin. But I do urge you to try the real thing.
A few comments on gluten. Even in Japan it’s rare to find soba made with 100% buckwheat. Usually there’s at least 20% wheat flour. You can’t rely on the English label. I’ve seen soba with an English ingredient list of just buckwheat flour and mountain yam but the Japanese listed wheat flour as the first ingredient! (Yam is sometimes used in soba.)
Even the one 100% buckwheat soba I’ve found is from a brand that also makes buckwheat-wheat soba and various wheat-based noodles (udon, etc). So cross-contamination is likely to be an issue. It’s no big deal for someone trying to minimize gluten, but for someone with celiac or severe gluten sensitivity it could be a real problem. So look for an explicit “gluten-free” label. (I’m fine with gluten, but my sister has celiac).
FreeRangeNan — Thank you; very helpful information!
Can the dressing be made ahead and kept in the fridge for a length of time?
This was SO delicious. I added cilantro and some minced jalapeño to the vegetable mixture and I will definitely be keeping those two little tweaks the next time I make this!
Did you cook the green beans at all, or add them raw to the dish?
This sounds challenging. Thank you so much for sharing! Amybeth Hurst, Portland, ME
Any idea of what kind of protein would go well with this cold noodle salad?
Monica — You might like this pork tenderloin that went with an older cold noodle salad. (I think this one is more interesting right now.)
Nora — I just used them raw.
This summer has been consumed by a writing project that’s been hanging over my head for 5 years. Ugh! I didn’t allow myself to do more than make toast for nearly a week while I was getting the whole thing wrapped up, and this was the first meal cooked post-paper. What a treat! I am blessed with an omnivorous family, so was not surprised that they loved it. I was out of mirin and used the white wine, rice vinegar combo with no ill effect. Grilled pork chops on the side were tasty with a drizzle of the miso dressing too!
I’m going to try this tonight! It looks wonderful!
Completely unrelated to this recipe…I can’t believe I’ve been following your blog for almost the full 7 years. You are AMAZING!!!!
…and I’m trying this recipe tonight for my bf.
Another item to add to our menu plan! Looks great for a hot summer evening.
deb and FreeRangeNan – thank you! I have an electric range, so hard to turn down the heat, but I will definitely try the cold water tip.
We made this last night, with carrots, cucumber, red cabbage, flat-leaf parsley and chicken added for protein. Amazing!
Delicious recipe, thanks Deb. I have served it three times this month…once cold and twice as a stir fry variation, pouring the sauce over the still crisp vegetables…compliments galore!!
I somehow missed this post until now, but even so, my mind was on the same track. Last week amid the heat and humidity I replicated one of my mother’s summertime supper recipes. Her sauce used equal parts peanut butter and tahini instead of miso, with enough water to thin it to spoonable consistency, but the concept was the same. Cold noodles would be lined up with julienned cucumbers, carrots, mung bean sprouts, and strips of egg and shredded chicken. Everyone would line up, add what they want, and mix their own bowl. It’s called liang mian, which literally translates to “cool noodles,” which was/is a wonderful thing on a hot humid day.
FYI just so you know this will not refrigerate well. I made this last night for dinner; ate half and put the other half in tupperware in the fridge to take to school. Seventeen hours later and the soba noodles are now soba mush; it’s pretty unpleasant. :(
It’s absolutely delicious fresh though!
Jeff — Yikes, I had kind of suspected that might happen. I’ll add a warning for future cooks!
Total fail!! Followed the soba noodle instructions exactly and they still turned into a soggy, slimy lump. The kids were grossed out and wouldn’t touch it, and I’m contemplating sending a lot of food into the trash. What on earth happened??
Tried this again, used left over asparagus and other sundry items. LOVED it. Thanks.
re: Jocelyn, FreeRangeNan – The cold water trick definitely works, it’s what my mom taught me after years of doing it and it’s wonderful. I just fill a medium bowl with cold tap water and add maybe 1/2-3/4 c every time it starts to really foam up, three times should do the trick on medium-high heat (cooking time will depend on size of pot, amount of water, etc. but this should cook the noodles through).
Another tip is when draining the noodles, wash them vigorously in cold water and massage them to get rid of any extra gluten and make the noodles the perfect texture, chewy but fully cooked, with some elasticity.
Great recipe! I need to try it soon before fall kicks in..
I love love loved this yummy recipe! For my fresh vegetables I used radish, cucumber, sliced sugar pees, and AVOCADO! The avocado is a must with this dish…it’s creaminess really complimented the zest of the yummy sauce. Thanks for sharing this recipe, it’s going to be one of my new go-to’s!
This was delicious. I amped up the cayenne and threw in some frozen edamame for the last minute of boiling the noodles because we are obsessed with protein. Thanks for the great recipe!
Saving this recipe. Looks so so good. Love Sheryl’s idea of adding frozen edamame for the protein. Yum!
Don’t you just love,love, LOVE it when you get a recipe that incorporates all your crappy leftovers and turns them into a great meal? Thanks Deb, you’re the BEST…
I finally got around to making this– it’s been at the top of my list since you posted it. I’m so glad I held on to the last shreds of summer! I knew this would be the kind of thing I liked, and it delivered both with flavor and texture. I subbed buckwheat honey for the sugar. The dark, earthy flavor of this honey echoed the noddles in a way that really adds depth.
Another keeper! (I’ll keep making this, who cares about the season.) Thanks, Deb!
I love everything about this!
Ps we all need to edit & cull….and changing your space literally makes space for new awesomeness – keep going
Second try – I disliked this the first time, but it was likely my fault for overdosing on the lime juice. Made the dressing this time to exact measurements – it’s still missing something umami…chopped peanuts? Yes, this helps.
Made this for dinner last night with a few alterations.
1. It’s November, so we wanted warm food.
2. Used egglpant, carrot, greenbeans, tofu (wanted edemame, but forgot),baby bok choy, 1 clove garlic lightly stir fried in sesame oil.
3. Couldn’t find mirin or miso in our tiny mountain grocery store so used sake and a Korean fermented soybean paste.
topped it icicle and red radished from our CSA
(c: No idea how this compared with the original recipe, but it was delicious!
delicious! I upped the cayenne, and it was fabulous.
OMG I am backblog stalking Smitten Kitchen and I made this tonight and the gnocchi in tomato broth yesterday. HOLY COW. So freakin’ good. I was already obsessed with your ginger carrot dressing and obsessively good cucumber avocado salad but both recipes just became new staples in our house. THANK YOU!!
Your recipe and flavors are spot on and enticing. Unfortunately, you have fallen into a mistake made by many non-Asians and photographed your lovely dish with chopsticks poked into it. This evokes the ceremonial food set out for dead people! Bad mojo! Next time, please leave the chopsticks to the side!
Elizh — I had no idea! I would love to read more about this and other traditions — any suggestions?
Because I am a terrible, terrible person I want to judge this post but because this post is our life I’m going to turn that judgy finger right back around to myself. I stil have the shirt I was wearing when I met MY husband in 2006 and my husband is a total end of food hoarder. I believe in just throwing that tiny little extra into whatever we eat but he will INSIST on keeping a splash of soy sauce or three baby carrots or one tablespoon of milk in the carton. You are us just on the opposite coast and that is probably why I love you so much :D
Amazing recipe. Didn’t use the soy sauce for fear of oversalting and instead, added a tbsp of kerrygold to the sauce. Added sliced seared tuna steak and it worked perfectly! Thank you!
Thanks for the recipe, Deb — It’s fantastic! I also used it as a produce odds and ends vehicle — julienned carrot and kohlrabi, red bell pepper, cucumber and celery. And for the record, grilled chicken brushed with lemon and agave makes an excellent protein accompaniment (I would’ve added some soy to the mix, but leftovers are going into enchiladas tomorrow and I wanted to keep the flavours neutral).
My go-to cold noodle recipe. Was so in love with the dressing that I recently tried it in a pasta salad – fantastic! Either way, perfect summer meal.
This was fabulous! I used white miso. My veggies were lightly steamed green beans and raw carrots, kohlrabi, and radishes. I served it with some sesame watercress and salt and pepper tofu (ala Food52). Such a refreshing and delicious summer meal!
Oh, was this yummy!
This was so so good. The lime/ginger combo made it so fresh tasting, and I got to use some garden radishes that are growing faster than I can eat them. Already planning to make again.
Changes I made: Didn’t have mirin (though I swear I had a bottle) so used 1T rice vinegar and 1T xaosing cooking wine, which probably has no place in a Japanese inspired dish but was very tasty. Added cold slivered pork from a leftover chop that was hanging around in the fridge.
Results: Yummy and cold on a humid sticky day and well worth boiling water for. And the most shocking part, my 4 year old liked it (well the noodles and pork anyway) and my 7 month old devoured the bits I gave him! Will make again for sure.
I know I’m three years late on this recipe, but I just made it tonight as it’s something I can eat now—and that my boyfriend can eat when he gets home after his crazy long day as it will keep well, and is meant to be cold.. Absolutely delicious. Fresh, bright, very delicious–and we actually had all of the ingredients on hand (because I keep a weird pantry). I also added shrimp for some protein, but I think anything like edamame, a simple fish, chicken or tofu would also work here.
If you don’t have miso paste you can use tahini + soy sauce. Add a teaspoon of water if its too thick or salty, add more tahini to thicken. I added sesame seeds and seaweed on top. yum.
I am riffing on this. Thank you for the base recipe. Only had carrots, onion, spinach, cukes, and garlic scapes, and then added left-over chicken. I’ve had to be v creative with the sauce – using soy, rice wine vinegar, candied ginger diced, pickled horse radish, and lemonade powder, with a bit of water. Yeah. I know. But necessity is the mother of something. I tasted it and approved, so hopefully the kiddos and partner will similarly green-light it. And if not, I’ll buy the ingredients on this list and try again. Serves the partner and kiddos right for even bringing lemonade powder into the cupboards, lol. Thanks again – humid night dinner savior.
So delicious I almost cried. Had white miso on hand, and no mirin so I subbed in rice vinegar with some extra sugar, but look forward to making this again with mirin. Served with soba noodles, cilantro, radishes, cucumbers, crushed peanuts, savoy cabbage, edamame, and extra lime. Of all the cold noodle dishes we’ve been making this summer, this one has been the universal favorite.
Thought I should comment because this seemed so weird I had to mention it; I made this as work lunches for the week & because I have a soy allergy (a weird one; small amounts of soy sauce/traces are fine, concentrated stuff like miso/edamame/tofu/soy milk are out) I tried replacing it with something else that has a pretty aggressive umami flavour: Vegemite. And it worked, which I was SHOCKED by! I used a bit less than you would miso, but I can safely say that if you don’t have miso but DO have some sort of salty yeast extract spread (I think Marmite might work too) it’d definitely work here, and it was still delicious!
The sauce was a bit heavy for my taste and I followed the sauce recipe exactly. I would use a lot less miso and more veggies even though my veggie: noodle ratio was about 1:1. I also added hardboiled egg on top at the end which was too much for the richness of the sauce. Great meal for a hot evening though.
Love this recipe! I used the leftover sauce as a salad dressing. I will definitely make again. We used about 1tbsp of sauce for each serving and it was perfect.
It’s currently winter but I am about to make this for a third time in two weeks! Delicious, easy to make, and super flexible. I only had a miso broth concentrate on hand, but I used the lesser amount and it worked fine!
I’ve been making a similar recipe to this for months – on regular rotation – that called for peanut butter instead of miso. I’m so glad I decided to change things up and find this recipe as it’s now my new favorite! I’m not sure why I didn’t think of adding miso sooner ;)
i Dear, I really like your post. Its writing style is so amazing. Thank you for sharing it.
I love Asian cooking. I find that a lot of recipes I want to make call for miso, but I don’t see it in the stores I shop at. Other than going to an Asian market, do you have any recommendations of where to buy this?