Although I included slices of seared tuna in tonight's version, vegetarian variations can be just as easy to prepare, simply adding slices of grilled or pan-fried tofu or tempeh. Perhaps even sauteed seasonal vegetables. I am particularly fond of spinach and mushrooms but this would work just as well with chunks of roasted pumpkin, spring onions and even fresh amaranth (something I still haven't had much luck finding in Australia). In fact, you can go in many directions with this dish. When the weather is cooler, I include the dashi broth I cooked the noodles as part of the dish. In summer, I chill the noodles in ice water then eat it with nothing but a smear of wasabi, some crisp julienne cucumber or grated daikon, and a light dressing made with mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil.
Since there is no fixed recipe for a dish like that, I thought it best for me to include a couple of guidelines I tend to follow
- Cooking the soba noodles in a stock, miso soup or dashi broth gives it a very good flavour regardless of whether you wish to include the cooking liquid in the finished dish
- Most soba noodles you get in the shops will not clump up or turn claggy when overcooked. I find the authentic Japanese imports are less forgiving but have better flavour (they even have green tea variations!). Should you try the latter, refresh the cooked noodles in lots of iced water.
Let me know if you do try this dish and I would love to hear about the way you cook your favourite noodles.