RECIPE: Mushroom Soba Salad with Yuzu Ponzu Dressing

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Mushroom Soba Salad with Ponzu Dressing

This is my friend’s own recipe, inspired by the different types of soba salads she has had; this light and tasty salad has become a staple on my menu.  I also made this for our New Year family gathering, and most recently for my friend’s birthday potluck party.

We made this dish together a few months ago when sea asparagus was in season; it was an excellent addition and added a different texture and taste (“sea-salt”) . As this is a homemade recipe, the quantities and ingredients can be changed according to your taste and dietary needs.

“Poached Pear Queen”, thank you very much for sharing (OO).

Ingredients: (Serves 4 – as light meal)

1 package 100% buckwheat noodles (200g), 1 Tablespoon grape seed oil, 6 to 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms (thinly sliced), 1 package white organic shimeji mushrooms (approx. 100g), 1 package organic buna shimeji (beech) mushrooms (approx. 100g), 1 to 2 cloves of garlic (finely minced), sugar snap peas 250 g (lightly blanched and sliced on the bias), 1 large red (or orange) pepper (thinly sliced), 2 pieces satsuma age (Japanese already cooked fried fish cake) thinly sliced, 1 medium onion (thinly sliced), green scallions (chopped for garnish), 1 Meyer (or regular) lemon zest (for garnish), 1 to 2 teaspoons of Japanese mirin, juice of half a Meyer lemon (or regular lemon), sake (just a dash for mushrooms), kosher salt (a little for seasoning mushrooms), drizzle of sesame oil (optional).

Dressing: 4 to 6 Tablespoon yuzu ponzu sauce, 1 to 2 Tablespoon Japanese soy sauce, 1 small red chilli peppers (thinly sliced), 1 to 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar, black pepper for seasoning to taste.

Preparation:

– Prepare ponzu dressing (Yuzu ponzu to soy sauce – 3 to 1), add sliced red chilli pepper and mix well.

– Lightly blanched sugar snap peas, peel and slice on the bias.

– Separate the white and beech shimeji mushrooms into individual stalks, slice shiitake mushrooms, onion, red pepper and fish cakes, set aside.

– In large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat.

– Add onions, sautéed until lightly browned, add mushrooms, garlic, Japanese sake, mirin and season with kosher salt (a pinch to lightly season the mushrooms) and black pepper, stirring occasionally until they begin to wilt, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.

– Add red pepper slices, cook for another minute, then fold in snap peas and fish cake, add Meyer lemon juice, mix well and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Keep in mind you would like to keep the vegetables “crunchy”. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

– Cook the Soba noodles in boiling water according to package instructions;  cook until they are al dente (treat it as pasta). This step requires your full attention as soba noodles can be overcooked easily.  When they are done, rinse under cold water (until water is no longer murky), toss and drain the noodles thoroughly.

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Soba noodles rinsed, tossed and drained thoroughly.

– In large mixing bowl, (by hand using plastic disposable food prep gloves or tongs) toss mushroom mixture with soba noodles, the lemon zest and green scallions, slowly drizzle dressing and toss well with all ingredients.

– Taste and adjust with your choice of seasonings (soy sauce, yuzu ponzu, black pepper) according to your own preference.

– Lightly drizzle with sesame oil or garnish with toasted sesame seeds (optional).- Served immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Notes:

– Meyer lemon has a very distinctive flavour which is slightly resembles yuzu.  It is not as sharp as regular lemons which work just as well and adds a different flavour.

– When adding the dressing, do it slowly; some of you may prefer a even lighter or heavier dressed noodle salad, you may not use all (or you require more) dressing. Be prepared!  If you choose to chill the salad before serving, it’s best to have more dressing available as noodles may become a little dry after refrigeration.

– The small red chilli pepper is spicy; so beware! if you want “kick”, add another one (OO).

– You can make this entirely vegetarian by omitting the fish cakes.  Back in September 2013, we made this dish with sea asparagus, maitake and crimini mushrooms, be adventurous and change the ingredients!

– Here’s a picture of some ingredients: organic soy sauce (top left), Yuzu Ponzu (top right) and 100% buckwheat noodles (bottom).  In Vancouver, you can purchased all ingredients at Fujiya Japanese food store (912 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC).  The organic packaged mushrooms are also available at T & T Asian supermarket (various locations).

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