greentea-soba-stirfry-0141A 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.

greentea-soba-stirfry-0119Although 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. 

green-tea-sobaSoba means buckwheat in Japanese and also noodles made from buckwheat flour.

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.

sichuan-green-tea-soba-0148What’s your favorite noodle recipe? Any “favorite disaster” in the kitchen to talk about? Oh, don’t tell me I’m the only one…

Sichuan Pepper & Tofu Green Tea Soba


  • 300 g Tofu
  • 25 g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp Sichuan Pepper crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • 2 Pepper 1 carrot, 3 leaves Savoy cabbage (or a pack of stir fry mix)
  • 5-8 chestnut mushrooms
  • 300 g pack Soba Noodles I used Matcha Green Tea Soba
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Mirin or Rice Wine


  • Cut the tofu into 7–8 slices (square) and pat dry with kitchen towel. Tip the flour on to a plate and season with salt. Add the tofu slices and dust with the flour.
  • Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the tofu slices. Cook for 2–3 minutes each side, until golden, then transfer to a plate.
  • Bring water to boil in another pan and cook the soba noodles for 2-3 mins. Drain with a colander and rinse with in a cold running water to get rid of slimy texture.
  • Cut the pepper, carrot, savoy cabbage leave and mushrooms in slices. Add the Sichuan pepper and the mixed pepper stir fry to a pan and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the noodles and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and rice wine and cook for another minute. Divide between 4 serving bowls or plates and top with the tofu slices. Serve straight away.

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  1. What a gorgeous bowl of soba noodles and tofu! I like that you added chestnut mushrooms & japanese mirin, mmm! Wow, Daniela, that’s awesome that you’re learning Japanese <3<3

    And these Sichuan peppers – they are very fragrant and delicious – especially in broths! My favorite noodle recipe is mostly noodle/ramen soup in a nice dark, herbal broth with loads of amazing veggies! Thank you for sharing this amazing soba recipe!

  2. I’ve been meaning to try soba noodles for so long but I’ve never seen any made with matcha! How interesting! I hope I can find them and make this soon because it truly looks delicious.

    A chef, a photographer, and a physicist all while learning to speak such a difficult language? You’re truly amazing!