I convinced my friend, filmmaker and writer Gail Singer, to give me her go-to recipe for summer dinner parties. It’s a standout dish that allows you to change the vegetables. (Just be sure there is about 1 to 2 cups of each, cut in julienne or matchstick-size pieces.)
You can buy perilla leaves in Japanese or other Asian markets, or substitute a combination of basil and mint.
To serve: Some people like to pour the dressing into the bottom of their bowl and dip in the noodles and vegetables. Others toss the dressing with the noodles and vegetables before serving.
- 300 g (10 ounces) fresh or dried buckwheat soba noodles; 3 litres (12 cups) water
- 2 peeled mini cucumbers or 1/2 a large cucumber, cut in julienne
- 2 cups medium carrots, cut in julienne
- 1 red or yellow pepper, cut in julienne
- 1 cup daikon or regular radish, cut in julienne
- 6 green onions, white part only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup Japanese soy sauce
- ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 4 teaspoons wasabi powder, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 large perilla leaves, sliced about 2 tablespoons (or 4 basil leaves and 4 mint leaves)
- 1 cup radish sprouts or other sprouts
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Bring water to boil. Submerge noodles, stir gently. Allow to simmer – 7 minutes for dried and 5 minutes for fresh. Check a noodle by taking a bite. There should be no resistance.
Strain through a sieve then rinse noodles thoroughly in cold water, tossing with your hands. Let sit on a dish towel to dry, then refrigerate.
Place vegetables on a pretty dish in separate piles.
Heat vegetable oil in a small non-stick pan. Divide egg mixture in half and make 2 small pancakes. Cook eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper, as thinly as possible. Flip and allow to brown slightly. Cool and cut into strips.
Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
Toss noodles in ¾ cup dressing. Scoop a portion of noodles onto the plate. Top with each of the individual vegetables and egg. Garnish with perilla and radish sprouts. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Drizzle with remaining dressing if desired.