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
Lord knows I’m always up for making Japanese food. We had a big sushi party here, a couple of weeks ago. The guests pitched in and took a shot at rolling their own maki, while I looked over their shoulder and pretended to be an expert. It was fun!
So I was pleased to discover this month’s DC challenge: cold soba and tempura. Laurent and I have made tempura before, but it had been a while. And it had been even longer since we’d had soba at home. We usually prefer udon or ramen, which are less healthy, but milder tasting. And we usually serve them in hot soups, rather than cold. But I had hiyashi soba several times last summer in Japan, and they were a refreshing delight on a hot, muggy day.
I don’t have much to report this month. I mistakenly thought I had a pack of soba left in the pantry, and had to run out and substitute what I could find. Technically, I used buckwheat lomein, but I’m fairly sure they only differ from soba by their shape. I probably should have rinsed the cooked noodles a little more, as they stuck together a bit. But a little bit of spicy dipping sauce (very zippy, by the way!) did the trick and made them slurp-a-licious!
For the tempura, I was pleased to learn a couple of tricks to improve results, such as keeping everything cold prior to frying, and putting the fried pieces of food on a rack to drip their excess oil, instead of blotting them on paper towels. This was definitely the crispiest, lightest tempura we ever made! It was also our first time using shiitake and eggplants for this dish (we usually stick to shrimp), and we enjoyed both, especially the mushrooms.