Words and images by Emma Galloway
Chilled Soba with Pickled Cucumber, Sesame and Soy
Soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour, but most brands also contain a little wheat flour. If you are gluten free, try searching for gluten-free soba at selected health food stores, or use rice noodles instead. You’ll find black vinegar and Korean chilli flakes at Asian supermarkets. If you’re gluten free opt for rice vinegar instead of black. Regular chilli flakes can be used, but I adore the bright chilli flavour and mild heat of Korean chilli flakes.
Makes 4 small bowls
1 telegraph cucumber
5 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp fine salt
250g packet soba noodles (gluten free if needed)
3 tbsp soy sauce (gluten free if needed)
3 tbsp black vinegar or rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Korean chilli flakes and toasted sesame seeds, to serve
Cut the cucumber into thin matchsticks. Combine rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a shallow bowl, and stir well to combine. Add cucumber, and toss well to coat. Set aside for 30–60 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Alternatively, you can pop it into a lidded container in the fridge and leave for up to three days.)
Cook soba following the packet instructions. Drain and rinse well with cold water. At this stage you can transfer noodles to the fridge to chill until ready to use, or go right ahead and serve.
Combine soy sauce, black/rice vinegar and sesame oil in a small bowl and stir well.
To serve, divide soba noodles and drained pickled cucumber between bowls, drizzle with soy dressing, sprinkle over a little chilli flakes and toasted sesame seeds.