A couple of weeks ago I dined in a Japanese restaurant in the heart of London and had my very first Zaru Soba. I was impressed by the simplicity of the dish, nothing more than chilled noodles served on a Zaru (bamboo basket) and accompanied with wasabi and a dipping sauce named Mentsuyu.
As much as I loved simplicity in my food, I felt that something was missing. Flavors, possibly. Back home, I googled Zaru Soba, and find it among the most popular Japanese summer dishes. Summer in Japan means hot and humidity. Lack of strong flavors and chilled noodles match well with the depressed appetite we have when temperature soars during summertime.
Although I haven’t yet switched the heating on, it is still terribly winter in London. No way Zaru Soba can grow on me. A stir fry with plenty of veggies and a touch of soy sauce is much more appropriate and welcomed. Since I love getting my hands on new ingredients (never heard about tapioca and nitrogen ices cream, until a few weeks ago), I stir fried the veggies with Green Tea Soba Noodles. Organic, made with real Matcha Green tea and happily purchased in Whole Foods during my last “trip” to the west side of London, to the chic High Street Kensington.
そば … SO-BA. I’m learning Japanese. Not sure I have told you already that I am happily taking class of Japanese language every Thursday. It will not help me cook Japanese food better but it will probably make me feel close to a different culture. After all, I still want to feel like a student that faces new challenges and has enough patience to see where all the knowledge acquired will lead to.
I’m curious by nature. I mix ingredients to experiment and see what flavor will come out of the venture. It’s not always a happy end situation. Let’s take, for examples, the first time I cooked Soba noodles. That was the day I prepared one of worst dishes on earth, I swear, the most mushy slimy noodles ever. I even failed to force myself finish the already small portion. That was also the day I learned that Soba need to be washed in cold running water after the boil. I can definitely say that these green tea Soba noodles are tasty mostly thanks to my previous failed experiment.