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.


Reid said...

Hi Chika,

I saw that recipe on Heidi's website too and I copied it down in hopes of trying it. Looks like you beat me! =) I'm glad it turned out well and I'm still going to be making this in the near future.

chika said...

Hi Santos,

yeah, go for it, you'll love it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chika! Thank you for bringing my attention to this one - I just made it and it was GORGEOUS! 

Posted by Zarah Maria

Anonymous said...

Hi Zarah Maria,

sorry about this late reply, but I checked your post right away. Glad you liked it, as this has become one of my favorite soba noodle dishes! 

Posted by chika

Anonymous said...

Heidi has taken down this recipe because she had originally posted it without permission. I was soooo excited to find this posting (inadvertently by searching "Otsu recipe" on google, but it's just a link back to Heidi's site. Vicious circle! Does anyone have a printed copy that they could e-mail to me? Pretty please? With sugar on top? 

Posted by Leslie

Anonymous said...

Yes, does anyone who is willing to share have a copy of this recipe? Please? 

Posted by David

Richard said...

I would appreciate the recipe for this also.

I would send in return an image of a recent ink splash done in Asian spirit. 

Posted by abarefootboy

erin said...

i think i found the same recipe duplicated here while doing a google search for heidi's deleted recipe:

skrockodile said...

this is such a belated post but I saw heidi's recipe-less recipe some time ago and was hoping for a repost but I just found yours and the helpful link erin put up and I'm delighted. this looks so yummy - I am a soba noodle abuser and I can't wait to try this - thanks!