This sumptuous salad is perfect for balmy spring and summer weather. It is refreshingly cool with all components served cold except for the seared tuna. Tender tuna steak encrusted with sesame and spices adorn an array of colourful bright vegetation. Beneath the creamy avocado, citrusy coriander, cool mint, pickled fiery ginger, sweet julienned carrots and al dente edamame beans lie soba noodles.
Soba noodles have a nutty chewy texture and add a luxuriously satisfying element to salad. It may seem strange to eat noodles cold but in Japan cold soba noodles are a classic dish and once discovered you won’t look back. Smooth silky noodles swathed in sauce are easy to slurp up. This recipe is bursting with flavour and is not shy on condiments. There are two dressings, one a Japanese vinaigrette “ponzu” and the other a delicious home made sesame paste which is ground by hand. The origin of the word “ponzu” comes from an old Dutch word for “pons” meaning punch as in fruit drink. “Su” is from the Japanese word for vinegar. So we have citrus and vinegar. This Dutch influence occurred in the 17th century when the Dutch traded with the Japanese.
This dish is all about the texture and the sauces. It is so flavoursome and healthy that it’s a great choice for a lighter meal option that will still satisfy. Soba can be either full buckwheat which is gluten free or a blend which is not. The protein is lightly seared tuna rolled in a combination of black and white sesame seeds, fragrant cumin and coriander seeds, rusty red paprika and golden turmeric. Biting into the crusty edge of this concoction you are hit with all the flavour and aroma they provide as well as a crunchy contrast to the delicate softness of the sashimi grade tuna. Follow this with a choice mouthful of squishy creaminess, sweet sharpness, nutty chewiness, umami earthiness or simply have fun bursting edamame beans.
When cooking tuna if you cook it all the way through that is considering overcooking it. It will be dry and awful. If you can buy sashimi grade tuna it will be the most fresh. Roll the fish in the mix of sesame seeds and spices as per the recipe below and when the pan is searingly hot grill it on each side for 1 minute each then remove and slice it into thick pieces.
For the homemade sesame sauce you roast the sesame then grind them with a mortar and pestle which releases all it’s warm aroma. It’s like a gourmet take on the Japanese “kewpie sesame dressing”. It’s so delicious you’ll want to make extra and keep some in the fridge to use on other salads!
Make the sauces first. Then cook the soba noodles and rinse in cold water. Chop the salad. Assemble salad and noodles in bowl. Drizzle ponzu dressing over. Cook tuna and roll it in the seed mix. Pour sesame dressing over. Serve.
There are store bought versions of the roasted sesame dressing and the ponzu dressing, these are a great alternative if you are short on time.
THIS IS OUR STEP BY STEP GUIDE –
- 4 Tuna steaks
- 2 Avocados
- 2 Carrots julienned
- 1 Packet of frozen shelled edamame blanched
- 1 bunch Fresh coriander
- 1 bunch Fresh mint
- 50 grams Pickled ginger
- 2 Lemons
- 270 grams Soba noodles (dry)
- 3 Tablespoons Sea Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Coriander Seed
- 1 Tablespoon Paprika
- 1 Tablespoon Turmeric
- 1/3 Cup White Sesame Seeds
- 1/3 Cup Black Sesame seeds
Roasted Sesame Dressing
- 1/2 Cup Roasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 Cup Kewpie Mayo
- 2 Teaspoon Honey
- 1 Teaspoon Soy sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Sesame oil
- 1 Teaspoon Rice vinegar
- 2 Teaspoon Mirin
- 1/2 Cup Soy sauce
- 1/4 Cup Sesame oil
- 1/4 Cup Mirin
- 1/4 Cup Rice wine vinegar
- 3 Tbsp Lemon juice
- 1/4 Cup Honey or Sugar
Roasted Sesame Dressing
- Dry roast sesame seeds in a pan for 15 – 20 minutes on low constantly moving them around until they are roasted a deep brown.
- Grind in mortar & pestle, mix them in a bowl with rest of ingredients.
- Mix all ingredients
- Prepare fresh ingredients – Pick herbs, julienne Carrots (can use a mandolin slicer with julienne attachment)
- Blanch edamame beans, drain and run under cold water
- Cook the soba noodles as per packet instructions, rinse in cold water & drain.
- Mix all spice ingredients
- Roll tuna steaks in spice mix
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of neutral oil, sear the tuna steaks for one minute on each side. Then slice the tuna steaks when you are ready to serve.
- Dress the cold soba noodles with the ponzu dressing and mix, portion into serving bowls.
- Place in each bowl carrots, edamame beans, sliced avocado, sliced tuna, a slice of lemon, pickled ginger & top with the mint & coriander. Serve with roasted sesame dressing on the side.