Sometimes you’re not feeling fancy for weeknight dinners and fast food isn’t all that appealing. We all need an all-time-go-to-quick-dinner-at-home option. No not Top Ramen, although a good instant ramen is one of my guilty pleasures. You can save that for your “all-time-go-to-lazy-at-home-option” or “all-time-go-to-I-waited-too-long-to-eat-now-I’m-starving-option”.
Today, I’m going to do a simple pan seared salmon with zaru soba and homemade tsuyu (soba dipping sauce). I also like to enjoy this with some spicy pickled cucumbers for a side to add some texture to these dishes. I know zaru soba is typically a summer dish but I like zaru soba year round. This cold noodle dish accompanied with a cold dipping sauce tastes light and guilt free. Quick, simple and healthy. Most of these ingredients are either easy to find or items that can be kept in your pantry to use again.
Some tips before getting started: Make the soba sauce and pickled cucumbers first and then the salmon and soba noodles last so they can be ready to eat. It looks like a lot of steps but it’s quite simple! But if you want to eliminate one part you can buy pre-made soba dipping sauce from a Japanese supermarket.
All items in this post were bought from GL Japan Plaza.
RECIPE: ZARU SOBA AND TSUYU (DIPPING SAUCE)
Prep Time: 0 min | Cook Time: 5 min | Difficulty: Easy | Serves: 4
1 teaspoon hondashi
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons mirin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1-2 tablespoon soy sauce or to taste
small handful bonito flakes
2 bundles of dried soba
For the Sauce:
1. Boil water and dissolve hondashi granules in a small sauce pan. Turn heat to simmer and add mirin, sugar and soy sauce.
2. Add bonito flakes and when about to boil turn heat off. Let it stand for 1 minute and strain.
3. Allow to cool and then place in fridge.
4. When ready to serve, pour a small amount into a a bowl and add a small amount of wasabi.
For the Soba:
1. Fill a medium pot with appropriate amount of water. Boil and cook soba noodles to al dente or as indicated on package. Top with some shredded nori seaweed for some fancy.
Serving suggestion: Reserve some of the liquid from the noodles and add to the soba sauce to drink as a soup after you’re finished. Add some sliced green onions for some extra fanciness.
RECIPE: SPICY PICKLED CUCUMBERS
Prep Time: 30 min | Cook Time: 0 min | Difficulty: Easy | Serves: 4
1 small carrot
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chili sauce, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1. Rinse and slice 2 cucumbers in half lengthwise. You can scoop out the seed if you’re feeling fancy otherwise you can keep them in. Then slice them diagonally in 3/4 inch pieces.
2. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and toss well with your hands. Let them sit for 30 minutes.
3. Peel and rinse the carrot. Slice diagonally into thin rounds. Set aside.
4. Combine all ingredients to make the sauce.
5. Drain water from cucumbers, toss with sauce and then serve immediately or place in the fridge until ready to serve. Add carrots before serving.
(This will keep in the fridge for another day)
RECIPE: PAN SEARED SALMON
Prep Time: 0 min | Cook Time: 8 min | Difficulty: Easy | Serves: 2
250g (0.5 lb) salmon fillet
fresh ground pepper
1. Lightly rinse and pat dry salmon. Bring salmon to room temperature. Then season with salt and pepper.
2. Preheat pan on medium heat for 3 minutes (very important).
3. Lightly oil, about half tablespoon of oil, and heat for 30-45 seconds; until warmed.
4. Place fillet on one side for 3 minutes then flip to second side for 5 minutes. If your fish was previously frozen and center is not thawed completely, you can add another minute to each side.
5. Squeeze lemon generously on salmon. Serve with grated daikon radish for some fancy.
And there you have it, my all-time-go-to-I’m-not-feeling-so-fancy-but-would-like-a-quick-home cooked meal-option! Enjoy!