Cold buckwheat soba noodles, shrimp and zucchini tempura with a sweet soy tempura dipping sauce
Inspired by my trip to Kyoto Japan, here is a simple lunch or dinner option if you have a craving for Japanese food. The combination of hot crispy shrimp and vegetable tempura with the cold firm soba noodles is just great in every way. The textures and flavors works well with each other, once you dip the noodles and tempura in a the light sweet soy tempura sauce it coats everything and bring the meal together. I do enjoy wasabi, grated daikon and chopped scallions mixed in my dipping sauce. The wasabi adds a creamy, tangy, spicy kick with the daikon and scallions adding a freshness and aroma.
The soba noodles I didn't rather took the easy route today and store bought dried noodle. It can be found at any Asian supermarket. I do make chinese egg noodles and pastas all the time so I will make Soba noodles one day and post it. Just like Italian pasta I personally like to salt my water pot before boiling my noodles. I figured the same rules should apply to Asian noodles. If the water is not salt seasoned, you will have a bland noodle. 2 liters of water and a tbsp of salt. These noodles I bought took 6 mins. I would follow the instructions for your packaging that you bought. Once boiled strain the noodles in the sink and run it under cold water. I know this might sound wrong because for Italian pasta this would be a sin. This dish requires cold noodles. Cold rinsing is needed. Set the noodles aside.
I used frozen jumbo shrimp for this meal and I found it worked just fine, the larger the better around 16/20 size. Defrosted and pat dried. Lay it out on a cutting board to stretch it out. Lightly squeezing and straightening the shrimps. This step will allow for a straighter shrimp when frying as it has a tendency to curl. I have also tried this recipe with other seafood's such as scallops and squid. But I find, shrimp tempura is my favorite for this dish
For the tempura batter there are a few ways to make it. But the method i enjoy is All purpose flour, club soda and ice cubes. I mixed 1/2 a cup of Ap flour and about a third can of club soda preferably chilled, if not, just mix with ice. Stir with a spoon or fork, adding more flour or soda if it's to thick or thin. This method of a chilled batter, makes a more crispy tempura.
I then sliced the zuchinni into fairly large pieces, about a cm thick rounds. Use the same tempura batter as the shrimp. You can fry other vegetables as well. Carrots, mushrooms, taro almost any vegetable, but they might require different cook times and some might not be as enjoyable with Soba noodles
In a medium thick pot I heated about 3 inches of vegetable oil at medium high heat. I like to use the chopstick method to check if the oil is ready. Dip the end of a chopstick into the heated oil, if the chopstick bubbles, the oil is good to fry. But for people wanting precision with a thermometer, 375 degrees.
The frying method I used was slowly dip and hold the shrimp in oil and fry it straight as possible for a few seconds the let it float. Fry all the shrimps till golden brown and drain on a rack or plate with paper towel. The zucchini cook fairly quickly, once it browns and floats its done.
For the dipping tempura sauce I used concentrated tempura sauce 1/4 cup, added water till it was the right flavor about 1/8 cup. Grated some daikon and sliced some green onions. Added a 1/2 tsp of Wasabi for a little kick and use it to dip your noodles and tempura.
Garnish the noodles with Furikake seasoning which is a blend of sesame seeds, seaweed, salt and sugar. Dip the cold noodles in the sauce. Eat with the freshly fried tempura combined with the sweet, salty, spicy tempura sauce, this meal feels perfectly balanced. The cold noodles and the hot tempura plays a great contrast and the chewy noodles balancing out the crispiness of shrimps and zucchini is a wonderful bounce of textures and flavors in one meal.
Prep 15 mins
Cook time 30 mins
Feeds 2-3 people
1/2 pack buck wheat soba noodles
1/2 cup Concentrated tempura sauce
1/4 water to dilute tempura sauce
1 tsp grated daikon
1/2 tsp wasabi (optional)
10-12 large shrimps 16/20 size
1/2 zucchini thick slices 1 cm rounds
Furikake garnish on noodles