Daring Cooks: Cold soba noodle salad and tempura

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com.

I was excited to see this month’s Daring Cooks was something a little lighter than last month’s Cassoulet.  Another bonus was that both the soba noodle salad and the tempura didn’t really take much time – I literally whipped up both during a study break and was glad of the light comfort food meal they provided.  I recently discovered that my local grocery store carries fabulous soba noodles – both dried and fresh – and this challenge made me realise that I will be purchasing them again, often, because of the endless possibilities they offer – plus, I always find that food like this looks like you have spent so much longer making it than you really have!

I kept it simple with my add-ins…

Although as you can see from the recipe, the possibilities and combinations really are endless…


It really did make for a satisfying, yet light, lunch in the middle of a busy study day.  I saved the leftovers separately and ate it for dinner the next day too!

As for the tempura, I had never made it before but it looked fairly simple and I happened to have sweet potato (my favourite tempura vegetable ever!) on hand, plus some of the red peppers and some broccoli.  It was a little fiddly, for sure, but a welcome break from academic readings.  My tempura were certainly not the prettiest but they were tasty – and they tasted right, which is important!


Thanks for a fun challenge Lisa – it won’t be the last time I make either of these recipes!

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51 Responses to Daring Cooks: Cold soba noodle salad and tempura

  1. Renata February 14, 2011 at 05:48 #

    Your results are amazing! Tempura looks so crunchy and delicious. Love the photos!

  2. Audax Artifex February 14, 2011 at 05:55 #

    WOW that looks fabulous your tempura looks perfect great job on this challenge lovely photographs superb work.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. chef_d February 14, 2011 at 06:08 #

    Your pictures are gorgeous! I’ve become a soba convert because of this challenge too, I will be trying the sweet potato tempura very soon. Great job on this challenge!

  4. Liz February 14, 2011 at 07:04 #

    Wow, what a fabulous challenge…it all looks SO delicious! Great job~

  5. Jason Phelps February 14, 2011 at 07:18 #

    I love the simplicity of the pictures.

    I had tempura a few weeks back for the first time in a long while. Sweet potatoes and acorn squash. Out of sight!


  6. Lael Hazan @educatedpalate February 14, 2011 at 07:32 #

    Love the photos and the process! My oldest daughter has been wanting something “different” for school lunch. I think we can make this and put it in a thermos (sans tempura). Thanks for the idea!

  7. Shelley C February 14, 2011 at 10:03 #

    Well I think your tempura looks wonderful – crispy and tasty! And the soba salad looks delicious and refreshing. Great job!

  8. KA B L O O E Y February 14, 2011 at 10:14 #

    Beautiful pictures, Mardi! And everything looks delicious, but I’m definitely partial to the soba. Yum.

  9. Rochelle (Acquired Taste) February 14, 2011 at 10:23 #

    Beautiful photos, Mardi! I am trying really hard not to drool over them 🙂 and now I’m all kinds of hungry!

  10. Tiffany Rosenberger February 14, 2011 at 11:02 #

    Wow, that looks so delicious and I’m already hungry for lunch….Great job and great photos.

  11. Barbara Bakes February 14, 2011 at 12:56 #

    So funny the different reactions to this challenge, some say it took all day and you make it on a break. I feel the same way about the noodles. So good and easy!

  12. Ruth H. February 14, 2011 at 15:14 #

    Your simple soba salad looks for yummy and refreshing! I love the versatility of the salad, from the ingredients to the dipping sauce…! And your tempura looks perfect. What a great meal for studying! Fabulous work on this challenge, and thank you for sharing!

  13. The Farmers Wife February 14, 2011 at 17:48 #

    This looks great! I love dishes like this, I will have to have this a try asap!

  14. veggietestkitchen February 14, 2011 at 18:17 #

    your challenge looks great. i loved the soba noodles this month, and also made them at the last minute. I think i’m going to stir fry my leftovers for a whole new dish. cheers

  15. Mr. Neil February 14, 2011 at 18:22 #

    Well Mardi has given so many freakin’ options, wine selection for this entry is a bit random.

    But as a general failsafe, go for something with a touch (or more) of residual sugar…generally will work well with the spices and salts.

    My choice? A German (not Alsatian) Riesling…Spatlese or Auslese. (Apologies to German readers for the omission of umlauts – not sure how to get in comments.) If the dish was really spiced up, a Gewurztraminer would do well, though depending on the pick might be too perfumey for my tastes – with this dish.

  16. Anna Johnston February 14, 2011 at 19:18 #

    Mr Neil…. love those wine pairing notes…, awesome selection for this dish. Love a little Tempura myself Mardi, nice one.

  17. Happy When Not Hungry February 14, 2011 at 19:37 #

    I’ve never made soba noodles before. These look so healthy and delicious!

  18. Betsy February 14, 2011 at 21:19 #

    The soba noodles look delicious!
    I’m glad I discovered your blog through FFwD. I stopped by today to award you the Stylish Blogger Award to let you know how much I enjoy it. Reading your blog brightens my day. Happy Cooking! Betsy

  19. Jenni February 14, 2011 at 21:21 #

    Great job! Your photos are spectacular!

  20. penny aka jeroxie February 14, 2011 at 23:22 #

    I love tempura but I just cannot do deep frying. So I have tend to head out of tempura instead of making them at home

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 18, 2011 at 08:35 #

      I am not a fan of deep frying so this was a little challenging. Fortunately I was able to open the window whilst I was frying!

  21. Conor @ Hold the Beef February 15, 2011 at 00:24 #

    Oishii desu ne!

    Such a good dish for our weather right now.

  22. Robert February 15, 2011 at 04:36 #

    The soba looks so simple yet bright and appetizing. I do regret not trying the sweet potato tempura myself.

  23. Dina @ The Dish and The Dirt February 16, 2011 at 10:15 #

    Those look yummy. How interesting it uses an English mustard powder. I wonder if you could use Wasabi and still get that same nose-heat…

  24. alyce February 16, 2011 at 14:59 #

    I love soba noodles. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Food Frenzy February 16, 2011 at 18:25 #

    Looks great and sounds yummy. Congrats on the Top 9.

    We invite you to share this post and some of your favorite posts on Food Frenzy.
    Please check out our community at http://blogstew.net/foodfrenzy

  26. Fresh and Foodie February 16, 2011 at 18:59 #

    I love this. So many cool flavors. The dipping sauce sounds awesome, and I love the idea of the mix and match toppings. Very delicious and beautiful. Congrats on the top 9!

  27. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction February 17, 2011 at 14:35 #

    Yum! I am totally craving some soba noodles now… 🙂

  28. Joy February 17, 2011 at 15:36 #

    Ohhh I love soba noodles. Your take on it looks great.

  29. cat February 17, 2011 at 22:22 #

    the tempura looks beautiful! i admire you for trying something fried like this – i always shy away from frying things – hate the smell the hot oil leaves behind in the house.

  30. Marisa February 18, 2011 at 09:29 #

    Tempura is the best! And really not so difficult to do at home – I’ll remember your tip about the sweet potato goodness, don’t think I’ve ever had that as tempura.

  31. Robyn Clarke February 20, 2011 at 10:52 #

    Love your photos, they so clean and clear. Very inspiring


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