Soba Noodles with Ginger Scallion Sauce, Pickled Cucumbers and Tempura

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including,, and

For this month's Daring Cooks' challenge we made cold soba and tempura. I've made soba in the past, but the extent of my "cooking" was boiling noodles and mixing it with a bottle of soba noodle soup base. While it is quite satisfying and refreshing on a hot day, no real "recipe" is involved. I found a recipe for David Chang's Ginger Scallion Sauce with Quick Pickled Cucumbers and he suggests serving it with noodles. While the cucumbers were a nice contrast to the noodles, the sauce itself lacked a bit and I was forced to reach for my old ye faithful soup base - which elevated the dish to an edible state. To round out the meal, the second part of our challenge was to make tempura. I've never really liked tempura so I used a recipe I found on the Internet. I was not a fan of the end result so I'll spare you and not provide the recipe. Oh well, at least it photographed well :)

Ginger Scallion Sauce Adapted from David Chang
Makes about 1 cup
1 ¼ cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)

1/4 cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger

2 tbs grapeseed or other neutral oil

1 teaspoons soy sauce, preferably usukuchi (light soy sauce), found in Asian markets

1 tsp sherry vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

12 oz soba noodles

Soba soup base/sauce

Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. Though it's best after 15 or 20 minutes of sitting, ginger scallion sauce is good from the minute it's stirred together up to a day or two in the fridge. Cook soba noodles and drain under cold water and mix with sauce. Add soba soup base to taste. Top with cucumbers and tofu if desired.

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

3 Kirby/Persian Cucumber, cut it's 1/8" slice discs

1 tablespoon sugar, or more to taste

1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

1. Combine the vegetable with the sugar and salt in a small mixing bowl and toss to coat with the sugar and salt. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Taste: if the pickles are too sweet or too salty, put them into a colander, rinse off the seasoning, and dry in a kitchen towel. Taste again and add more sugar or salt as needed. Serve after 5 to 10 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours *Recipe from David Chang