The perfect meal for hot summer days – cold cucumber soba noodles with a sweet chili sauce. Made with nutty buckwheat soba noodles with a super flavorful sweet chili and ginger sauce, quick-pickled cucumbers, and green onions.
I’m having a hard time cutting through the chaos right now. It’s an overwhelming, uncertain time, and I feel a little silly logging on with with a quick! and easy! summer recipe. So I’m going to share a few things we can all do right now and then get on to the recipe.
Here are a few things you can do to support people in Afghanistan and Haiti:
- Volunteer with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) to help resettle Afghan immigrants in your area.
- The International Rescue Committee is also working to resettle Afghan refugees and has an easy form you can use to email President Biden and ask that he honor the US commitment to protect and resettle our Afghan allies.
- For places to give for relief in Haiti, take a look at Charity Navigator. Some highly rated organizations include Hope for Haiti and CARE. Please do not give to the Red Cross.
Cucumber Soba Noodles
Soba is a traditional Japanese noodle made with either all buckwheat or a mix of buckwheat and wheat flour. They’re often served with a simple soy and mirin dipping sauce.
This recipe strays a bit from that tradition and instead has a sweet chili and ginger sauce tossed with the noodles. My sauce starts with minced shallots, grated ginger, and a red chili marinated in lemon juice. (The lemon is a little unexpected, but I liked the delicate sweetness it brought to the sauce, as opposed to the sourness of a lime.) After a few minutes, I added brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
While the noodles cook and the sauce marinates, toss the cucumbers with sea salt and a little rice wine vinegar to help them release their water and mellow their crunch.
When you’re ready to serve, toss the noodles with the sauce, plate, and top with cucumbers, green onion, and cilantro leaves. For a more well rounded meal, serve with fish or tofu. We had this broiled salmon alongside and it was delicious.
Plan Ahead for Leftovers
These noodles keep well for two days – just be sure to keep the cucumbers separate or they’ll make the noodles soggy.
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 - 2 spicy red chilies such as Bird's Eye or Fresno, seeded and minced
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger (from about a 3-inch section of ginger)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (I like Red Boat)
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 cups sliced cucumbers
- Sea salt
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 10 ounces buckwheat noodles, cooked to al dente and rinsed in cold water
- 4 green onions, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons lightly toasted sesame seeds
To make the sauce, combine the lemon juice, shallots, ginger, and chilies in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes while you prep the other ingredients. To finish the sauce, whisk in the sugar, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and toasted sesame oil.
Toss the cucumbers with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss buckwheat noodles with almost all of the sauce until well combined. Spoon into serving bowls, top with cucumbers, green onions, and cilantro. Finish with a final drizzle of sauce and sesame seeds.
If you plan to serve and eat the noodles all at once, feel free to toss all the ingredients together just before serving. Otherwise, keep the cucumbers and noodles seperate until just before you serve.
Noodles will keep well in the fridge for two days.