I have been obsessed with this recipe for almost 10 years now. I first discovered it from my friend Jo who had seen it on the blog 101 Cookbooks. Over time, I have adapted it using our achaars at Brooklyn Delhi to save time in a pinch or to bump up the flavor if I don't have all of the ingredients. Our Rhubarb Ginger Achaar pairs super well in this recipe. The flavors in this achaar replace the ginger and cayenne in the original recipe and boost the tart with rhubarb, umami flavor with asafetida and heat with fresh green chili peppers.
This dressing is so complex and devastatingly addictive - fresh lemon juice, tart rhubarb, heat from ginger and chili peppers, nutty sesame oil, sweet rice vinegar. I add a spoon of tahini too for a creamy finish. Then you toss soba (noodles made from buckwheat flour), fried or baked tofu and cucumbers in the dressing and top with cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. The flavors are robust and refreshing all at once. To make the dressing, I usually just chuck all of the ingredients into my blender. I guarantee this will become one of your favorite recipes too.
Dressing (makes more than what you need for the recipe, but nice to keep around)
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons (or more;) Brooklyn Delhi Rhubarb Ginger Achaar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons pure sesame oil
1 tablespoon tahini paste
Soba noodle salad
8 oz. soba noodles, cooked according to package directions
6 oz baked tofu or 8 oz extra firm tofu, cubed (directions below)
1 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 scallion, green and white part, cleaned and thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut in half lengthwise then cut across into thin half-moons.
more cilantro for garnishing
If using extra firm tofu: Add tofu to a large non-stick skillet without any oil and toss over high heat until all water has evaporated. Add canola oil, reduce heat to medium-high and fry, tossing frequently until tofu is firm and bouncy. Drain over paper towels.
In a blender, combine all the dressing ingredients. Blend well. Add tahini and blend together.
In a large mixing bowl combine drained soba noodles, cilantro, scallions, cucumber. Slowly add dressing and toss Add more dressing to your taste. Arrange salad in center of large plate and top with baked or fried tofu. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs. Serve with more dressing on the table just in case!