Sunday, August 24, 2008

Soba, avocado and cashew salad

It's hard to put a name to this one, it's more then just another soba noodle salad. With thinly shredded carrots and cucumbers and brightly coloured peppers and avocado, it's the combination of fresh, raw vegetables, toasted cashews and a delicious dressing that makes this one stand above. And, it's a terrific excuse for buying (or owning) a Japanese mandolin.

This recipe is from the Rebar Modern Food Cook Book and if you haven't picked this cook book up yet, you should. Most of the recipes include a long list of ingredients, but I've found that the recipes don't suffer the slightest from skipping a few. For this salad, I omitted the scallions and hijki seaweed and added organic water sprouts.

Soba, Avocado and Cashew Salad (Serves 4)
454 g (16 oz) soba noodles
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 long English cucumber, shredded
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
handful of large water sprouts
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup toasted cashews

2 tablespoons sesame oil
1.5 teaspoons chile oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cornstarch
juice of two limes
2 tablespoons minced cilantro

Cook the soba noodles according to package, in boiling, salted water. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water and toss with a little sesame oil to keep the noodles from sticking together. Set aside.

Heat oils in a pot over a medium heat. Add garlic and chiles and saute briefly, being careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in the vinegar and soy sauce, bringing to a simmer. Add honey and stir to dissolve. Then, whisk in cornstarch and simmer for five more minutes. When the sauce has thickened a little, add the lime juice and cilantro. Stir and set aside.

Prepare the vegetables for the salad and toast cashews. Using one large serving bowl or individual bowls, add the noodles into the bowl, add a handful of the carrot, cucumber, pepper, sprouts and avocado, sprinkle the toasted cashews on top and drizzle with dressing. Top with additional cilantro if you like and enjoy!

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