Japanese Cold Noodle Salad

Whenever I ask my kids what would they like to have for dinner, mostly I get a reply “something different” and if not that, then “pasta or noodles”. And every time I have made pasta or noodles so far I used to feel guilty that I was not giving them a wholesome diet. But things have changed tremendously ever since I have got my pasta machine.

I make egg noodles, spaghetti, and fettuccine all from scratch using best of ingredients …… simply eggs and whole wheat flour (atta)! I also love to create colorful pastas by mixing in pureed spinach, tomato, beetroot or carrots, which makes both the children happy as well as me too as I know that they are not missing out on goodness of veggies.

Let’s keep the colorful pasta recipe ideas for later and let me share the recipe of egg noodles and the cold salad made using these egg noodles.

Japanese Cold Noodle Salad

Japanese Cold Noodle Salad

Ingredients for egg noodles:

Whole wheat flour – 300 g

Large eggs – 3

Sesame oil (or any other cooking oil)

Instructions:

  • Mix in all the ingredients together to bind it in dough.
  • Knead it until it all comes together well. Wrap it in a cling film and set aside for a while (8-10 minutes).
  • Put a large pan of water to boil with a tea-spoon of salt.
  • In the meantime, unwrap the dough and cut into three pieces. Wrap two parts back in the cling film so that dough doesn’t dry out and stretch the third one (or the first one!) on the pasta machine until you reach thickness or thinness of 7.
  • Pass the stretched sheets through noodle cutter and put in the boiling water straight away.
  • Allow it to boil for a minute or so, or until all noodles start floating (a sign that they are cooked)
  • Using a spaghetti fork or large strainer, scoop them out of boiling water and put them in cold water to stop cooking and retaining the texture.
  • Repeat the same with the remaining dough.

Ingredients for dressing:

Zest of one orange

Juice of an orange

Ginger juice 1 tsp

Sesame seeds, roasted – 2 tbsp

Orient seasoning salt – ½ tsp

Japanese seasoning – 2 tsp (I use Keya)

Sesame oil 2-3 tbsp

Rice vinegar – 1 tbsp

Brown sugar – 1tsp

Freshly ground black pepper – 1 tsp

Instructions:

  • Mix in all the ingredients together except sesame oil.
  • Add in the sesame oil slowly while whisking the dressing mixture until it all emulsifies together. Keep it aside.

Salad ingredients:

Cabbage, finely grated – ½ cup

French beans, diagonally sliced, ½ cup

Onion, finely sliced – ½ cup

Green pepper, finely sliced – ½ cup

Carrots, julienned – ½ cup

For garnish:

A thin 2 egg omelette flavored with ginger juice, grated ginger, chili powder and salt, cut into thin slices.

A mixture of red chili paste ( I still get my red chili paste from Sri Lanka, they are the best at making it, although they call it Chinese chili paste!!!) in 2 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp rice vinegar.

Instructions:

  • Boil a large pan of water and blanch all the veggies together for about 2 minutes.
  • Strain through a colander and soak them in chilled water for 5-7 minutes. It helps retain the crunchiness and the color of the veggies.

To assemble the salad:

  • Mix the dressing and the blanched veggies together. Taste for seasoning and adjust according to your taste.
  • Next add the boiled, cold egg noodles and mix well. Use fingers to mix all the ingredients together and ensure noodles are well coated with dressing.
  • Plate it up and top up with omelette strips and red chili paste.

And there you go, once again a wholesome meal with everybody’s favorite ingredients in it. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

 

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Tangy Warm French beans Salad

I grew up on farms as my father worked as an Agriculture scientist. My father is very fond of gardening and we always had a kitchen garden where he would grow all sorts of seasonal vegetables, free of any chemicals. I still remember we used to get French beans only in winter season. My father would pluck them fresh from the garden and my mom would cook them with potatoes as a curry (which my brother and I didn’t like much).

Later, when I travelled to Europe I learnt that French beans could be prepared in so many different ways. I liked slightly blanched ones, seasoned and topped with butter (simple and my all time favorite). Apart from that they can be used in various salads, and of course there are so many versions in salads as well.

Much later in Sri Lanka I learnt completely different way of cooking them, in coconut milk with lots of spices, as fragrant hot curry, which I would like to share with you some other time.

Recently I got my hands on two big bundles of very fresh French beans, so delicate and full of flavor that couldn’t think of any other recipe but this tangy salad, which can be used as entrée or a side dish.

Tangy Warm French beans Salad:

Ingredients:

500g tender French beans, topped and tailed

Dressing:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp yellow mustard paste or half and half yellow and English mustard

1 tbsp White wine vinegar (or any other natural vinegar)

2 tbsp capers

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed (I like a lot of garlic)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Handful of fresh basil, torn with hands

Salt to taste

Instructions:

  • Mix all the ingredients of dressing in a large bowl and keep it aside.
  • To blanch beans bring 3/4th pan of water to boil (in a large pan) with half teaspoon of sugar and 1 tsp salt.
  • Add beans to the boiling water, stir well.
  • Bring it to boil once more on full heat and let it blanch for a minute or so.
  • Drain all the water through colander. Add to the bowl with dressing, mix well.

Serve as you wish, warm or cold, great as side dish with roasted or baked chicken.

P. S.: Sometimes I also add a piece of boiled chicken breast, torn into small pieces with hands and just thrown in. And voila – a wholesome meal is ready to be enjoyed!

Hearty Cous-cous salad

Summer in most parts of India means extreme heat, heat-waves throughout the day and night. It is difficult for one to step out of an air-conditioned room. And when you think of food all you can think of those boring gourds – bottle, snake, bitter et al. All water rich vegetables that taste almost the same.

Well, for me it’s also the time to avoid fried food so I tried to create something that is refreshing, perhaps a salad.

As I think of ingredients that I can use for salad, almost none of the vegetables seem to be interesting enough that can be incorporated in my recipe. Think of it again, it is not so bad either, so here comes a refreshing salad.

Ingredients:

Grated cabbage, 1cup

Julienned apple, 1 cup

Chopped walnuts, 2 tbsp

Sultanas, a handful

Thinly sliced 1 red onion

Cous-cous prepared, 1 cup

For dressing:

Olive oil, 2 tbsp

Mustard paste (yellow), 1 tsp

White wine vinegar, 1 tbsp

Orange juice, 2 tbsp

Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.

Instructions:

  • Mix all the ingredients for dressing in a bottle, close tightly and give it a shake until an emulsion is formed.
  • In a large bowl mix all the ingredients for salad except onions. Pour the dressing over and mix thoroughly. Cover with the cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Sprinkle with the sliced onion just before serving.

And enjoy it at anytime of the day!