October 6, 2004
"otsu" na soba
Sunday, October 3
I knew I would definitely like it at the very first sight of the picture. And as I read it through, I was even more confident that I was going to love it. I am talking about this, a story that Heidi posted a few months back about a recipe of a fabulous soba noodle dish from one of her local restaurants called Pomelo. And just how right I had guessed - it proved to be seriously a great stuff, I hit the jackpot.
The dish, named Otsu, is "cold buckwheat noodle salad with cucumber, scallions, cilantro and a spicy soy, ginger & sesame dressing, topped with pan fried tofu", and Heidi has already elaborated how good it actually is, and I second that.
Although I won't repeat all that great points Heidi has made about this dish, I am just taking a note of what I did, as I made several substitutions here and there. First, for the dressing: I must have put more ginger than the recipe calls for (just because I am a certified ginger abuser), and more lemon juice, instead I used less vinegar, and for the vinegar part I used white balsamic vinegar in place of rice vinegar, not because I am a balsamic vinegar abuser, but just I didn't have rice vinegar at home. I didn't use canola oil but sunflower oil, though it shouldn't have made too much of difference. Also, the amount of soy sauce seemed just too much to me, so I reduced it down less than half of what it is specified, while I did use a little bit extra salt.
All of these were "planned" substitutions, but there rose a problem; I didn't have enough cayenne. I thought I had more, but there was only one-third teaspoonful of it left, and I didn't have any other chili-pepper product, really. What should I do?? Well, I ended up adding some shichimi-togarashi, or a mixture of red pepper and other spices commonly used in Japan. I don't know if this was a better-than-nothing kind of choice, but I went on anyways.
For the salad, as I wanted something more than just tofu and cucumber, I added celery, maui sweet onion, and alfalfa and onion sprouts. Oh I neglected cilantro, by the way - I was planning to use shiso instead, but I forgot this one. Never mind.
So there was a lot of chopping and slicing and mixing involved before assembling the salad (I sprinkled it with sansho pepper along with toasted sesame seeds), but I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the results. I even had a lot of dressing left as I only used about a half, so I will be able to enjoy the dish at least one more time without making the dressing from scratch. It really was a nifty dish, truly was otsu - it indeed deserves its name.
posted by chika at: 10/06/2004 09:23:00 AM