As the summer approaches, I like to turn to lighter refreshing vinaigrettes to dress noodles and salads. Using the ready-made jams and marmalades found in Asian supermarkets, we can build a huge variety of dressings for chilled noodles that pair excellently with a variety of vegetables creating a dish that is anything but the generic "Asian-style noodle salads" we see across the US. Instead, we'll bring yuzu honey concentrate, yuzu kosho, and ponzu, as true East Asian ingredients that help punctuate yuzu's lively fruit flavors that inspired this fusion dish in the first place. Note: the tea looks like marmalade. Like tea leaves, hot water is added to make tea.
The combination of cold, chewy homemade soba noodles with steaming-hot crispy duck and dashi-enriched dipping sauce is an unparalleled delight. Timing is key when making this dish—cook the soba just before you serve. Work ahead by steeping the dashi and seasoning the duck the night before or the morning of cooking. For the purest flavor, seek out hon mirin (“real mirin”), which has no added sweeteners or salt.
Tender and supple with the perfect chewy texture, these from-scratch buckwheat soba noodles are easy to master. Don’t worry about adding too much starch; tapping the noodles gently before cooking gets rid of any excess. Serve them with Sonoko Sakai’s Crispy Duck and Hot Dipping Sauce or store-bought mentsuyu (noodle soup base).
F&W Best New Chef 2017 Peter Cho, of Han Oak in Portland, Oregon, is a master at riffing on Asian classics. He says that he created this dish to curb his wife’s cravings for one of their favorite places in New York City, Xi’an Famous Foods. “When we lived in New York, we went there pretty regularly, and we always ate the tiger vegetable salad, warm spicy tofu and the pork zha jjang hand-pulled noodles,” he says. “This is my version of a combination of those dishes.” Slideshow: More Noodle Salad Recipes
For a light but nourishing breakfast, Food & Wine’s Kay Chun likes making a savory dashi broth, which she eats with soba noodles and Japanese soft-cooked eggs called onsen. Slideshow: More Noodle Recipes