Green Tea Soba Noodles with Cucumber and Tofu Recipe

Cha Soba, Concombre et Tofu

So verdant is this dish that it could have been my contribution to Saint Patrick’s Day. But because the French don’t really celebrate it (unless they happen to find themselves at one of the Irish pubs on boulevard de Clichy) and because my father’s name is Patrick, March 17th is simply that: my father’s fête. He usually receives a gift of pâtes de fruits, we get to help him gobble them up before they have time to hit the ground, and that’s that. No color theme.

So this is not what this dish is about. This dish is about going to dinner on rue Sainte-Anne — Paris’ pocket-sized Japantown — and noticing as you exit the noodle joint that the Juji Ya convenience store is still open. It is about stepping in, walking past the take-out counter and up the steps towards the back of the shop to buy mugicha (barley tea), azuki beans, cha soba (buckwheat noodles flavored with green tea powder), and a block of firm tofu — and throwing in a couple of the mochi rice cakes that blink up at you at the register, to share on the walk home.

It is about thanking your lucky stars when you realize, the next day, that a cucumber has recently taken up quarters in the fridge (yes, you bought it yourself, but sometimes you forget about those things), and that if it joins forces with the tofu, the soba noodles, and a few pantry ingredients, you have the makings of a fine dish of cold soba, possibly the most refreshing, replenishing lunch imaginable.

And finally, it is about setting your chopsticks in twitching motion, slurping up the slippery strands (making sure you do not cut them with your teeth, ever), munching on the crunchy cukes, and exclaiming, because you’ve started learning a little Japanese and would never miss an opportunity to practice, “Oishii desu yo!”*

Juji Ya / map it!
46 rue Sainte-Anne, 75002 Paris
01 42 86 02 22

* “Delicious!”

Green Tea Buckwheat Noodles with Cucumber and Tofu Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serves 2 to 3.

Green Tea Buckwheat Noodles with Cucumber and Tofu Recipe

Ingredients

  • 225g (8 ounces) cha soba (green tea buckwheat noodles)
  • 2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Japanese rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tbsp sesame paste, a.k.a. tahini or neri-goma
  • 300g (10 ounces) firm tofu, diced
  • 1 large cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • Sesame seeds, toasted

Instructions

  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Plunge in ice water to stop the cooking, and leave in a colander to drain.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, and sesame butter. Add the soba and coat well. Fold in the tofu and cucumber, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/pasta/green-tea-buckwheat-noodles-with-cucumber-and-tofu-recipe/

Green Tea Soba Noodles

  • http://www.estouest.blog.lemonde.fr est

    So many flavours! I haven’t had any Japanese food since I got back from Japan 6 months ago (worried I was gonna be disappointed) but now I think I’m ready to try Kunitoraya & make my own bowl of noodle following your recipe…

  • http://www.theperfectpantry.com Lydia

    I never had cold soba until I stayed in a small fishing village in Japan, and my friend Rika’s husband taught me how to make soba from scratch. Then we cooked and chilled it, and made a cold sauce for it. At first I found the taste strange, or maybe just unexpected, but after a few slurps of noodles I realized that the cold really brought out the buckwheat flavor.

  • Rachel

    How lovely – a symphony of greens! My mum makes something similar, but with plain soba and the addition of avocado and coriander(you can never have too much green, right?). I’ll have to give it a try with the green tea noodles.

  • Magali

    Thank you so much for this! I have been on a gluten/dairy-free diet for 2 months now, and hoped that you might end up posting a recipe that I could actually make!
    This one will definitely be tested soon…

  • http://sooishi.blogspot.com/ sooishi

    Cette recette me plait beaucoup et ta photo est ravisssante!

  • http://www.monikakorngut.com/main.htm Monika Korngut

    I so have enjoyed your post, it sounds delicious and it really took me back to my visit to Japan, not too long ago.

    I have bought a huge amount of soba noodles but I still didn’t use them… I’m afraid to spoil my deliciously flavourful memories… Your post has inspired me to take them out of the cupboard and make something equally delicious.
    Thanks.

  • http://www.eatingoutloud.com Allen

    This brings several of my favorite flavors together. I absolutely love sesame especialy when mixed with crispy cucumber. I’ll have to give this recipe a try — thanks so much for sharing!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Magali – I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but do pay close attention to the ingredients in the soba noodles that you buy: they are seldom made of pure buckwheat flour, as these tend not to keep their shape when boiled, and wheat flour is often used as a binder.

    As for gluten-free, dairy-free recipes, you will find plenty more by browsing the recipe index.

  • http://www.oktomanota.com/ www.oktomanota.com

    really wounderful your blog i really again enjoy that ,
    good job

  • http://www.nookandpantry.blogspot.com Amy

    Yum that sounds delicious. Next time I go to the Asian market I’ll have to pick up some soba. It’s amazing to watch chefs make and cut (so fast! the knife skills are amazing) the soba noodles.

  • http://www.badhomecooking.com Bad Home Cook

    Oishi Desu, ne?! That looks and sounds incredible! I’m completely mad for noodles, and luckily, here in LA, they’re plentiful. Dare I try this myself? Thanks for the idea!

  • binky

    I used to love cold sesame noodles from Chinese places in NYC. They’re nearly identical, down to the cucumbers. Different noodles, obviously.

  • Theresa

    I make a carbonara with cha soba – it’s a bit of a challenge, not to overcook the soba, but it’s pretty with delicious textures – the egg/cream with the smooth soba. I first found this in a tea cafe in Singapore. Glad to see cha soba featured here!

  • Linda

    what a beautiful photo. the colors are so inviting. this sounds like an interesting dish. i have yet to use tea in cooking… i’ll have to give this one a go!

  • http://www.cocoandme.com Tamami

    Konbanwa Clotilde-san! It’s good to read about Japanese food on your blog! I was thinking that maybe you could try putting a tiny bit of (less than a teaspoon) of sugar in your sauce. It has the power of making the cucumber softer/ tender、especially if it was sliced very thinly rather than cubed. It reminds me of ‘Kyuuri no goma-ae’ which is a Japanese classic. I was thinking maybe shredded seaweed strands & thin slithers of red salad onion can also be added to your dish to add a bit of interest in flavour. Or if you are going for the ‘all-green theme’ maybe a small mountain of salad cress on top? – Anyway, your recipe sounds delicious & inspiring. Will try myself!

  • poppy

    I feel like I’m the only Japanese person who doesn’t like soba! I like the ‘idea’ of soba, I like how it looks in a bowl, and I like the slurpy sounds people make while eating soba. I just don’t like soba. Love your blog though!

  • http://www.alwaysace-thelatebloomer.blogspot.com Alice

    Wow, Clotilde, it’s so great how you’re experimenting with other international cuisines here! How exciting…

    I actually come in contact with the Japanese on a daily basis and have been learning a little bit of the language myself, but I’m making very slow progress — I’m a bit of a BAD student! I’m always learning something new about the civilization too, and I’ve become more and more interested in Japanese art and literature as a result.

    This sounds SO good, and I think I may have to wander back down rue Saint-Anne one day soon to get some of these ingredients — I used to work in that neighborhood and I often ate in the little restaurants there. I don’t think I’ve tried Kunitoraya yet though… Next on the list!

    Arigato gozaimashita…

  • http://chewonthat.blogspot.com Max

    It sounds so simple, I’m surprised! I’ve never had green tea soba noodles before but I’m tres intrigued… I’ll have to see if I can find them in the States.

  • Someone

    Poppy, I’m with you about soba noodles except I’m not Japanese. Maybe you weren’t Japanese in your last life if you are the only Japanese you know who doesn’t like soba. I like the idea of them for the same reasons you do, but what is it about Japanese noodles like soba: usually slimy, don’t have good texture, too easy to get sticky and overcooked? It’s part of such healthy, minimalist style cuisine–oh well, we can substitute some part- whole grain western noodles, or use Chinese noodles and call it pan-Asian. We are lucky to have choices, right? Clotilde will understand, I’m sure!

  • http://elegantsufficiency.typepad.com Stephanie

    divine! Cold soba rocks.

  • http://immaeatchu.wordpress.com susan

    that noodle looks delicious. i love soba noodle especially paired up with some nori and japansese pickled cucumbers. great lunch!

  • RichardB

    I live in Jersey and its hard to find Japanese products. Do you think it would be easy to use a vermacelli or a angel hair instead?

    • Linda

      Richard,

      You can go to Mitsuwa up in the Edgewater area. They have EVERYTHING under the sun as far as Japanese food goes.

      Linda

  • Katherine

    Thank you! I keep seeing green tea soba noodles at my local gorcery store, but I had no idea what to do with them.

    I agree with some of the other posters…cilantro and avocado would go beautifully in this as well.

    Max–I don’t know if you have one near you, but trader Joe’s carries green tea soba noodles.

  • lexi

    i couldn’t get my hands on green tea soba noddles, but managed to find green tea rice noodles! different I’m sure and I think the dressing would have stuck better to soba..but next time..I also could not get mirin! but the tahini paste works so nicely! it was yum! I wonder, how would some ginger work in the dressing??

  • berkeley girl

    This was delicious! On the mild side, but not bland. W/o any tahini or mirin on hand, I used crushed sesame seeds mixed w/ sesame oil and sake mixed w/ sugar. Following the above suggestions, I added avocado and then threw in some cooked soybeans. The avocado definitely added a creamier flavor and texture. I found that the tofu was hard to mix in w/ the noodles, so next time, I might throw it in the blender w/ the dressing like a tofu-tahini dressing before mixing it w/ the noodles. Might try adding seaweed or chile pepper too.

    -berkeley girl

  • jp2

    Yum! I make something similar, but not with cha soba and not with tahini in the dipping sauce.

    I do add sugar like Tamami recommends; after we eat the noodles, we pour some of the reserved water the soba was cooked in into the rest of the dipping sauce and drink it like a broth — I was told once that there is protein in the cooking water.

    I don’t know how it would come out with the tahini, though.

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