Asian Soba Slaw (Or, A.S.S.)

I could have a field day with the title of this blog. Slightly inappropriate, maybe, but it’s too tempting to ignore completely.

And frankly, an ass is a donkey. It’s an anatomical part. It’s NOT the worst swear word out there, and it’s a hilarious acronym for a delicious dish.

So, putting aside the ass-talk, let’s talk about this dish.

This past summer I worked at Mabel’s in Toronto. It was an amazing learning experience for me, and I am so grateful I got to meet the people there. They are wonderful, and were so patient and willing to teach me the basics before I got into culinary school. The food was tasty as HELL too, SO good. I worked at both the Pastry location on Queen and the Prepared Foods location in Roncesvalles. There’s a reason they’re one of the fastest growing companies in Canada.

That being said, I didn’t bring home a lot of food from there when I worked there, but when I did, it didn’t sit in the fridge long. Whether it was the Rainbow Salad or an Empanada, They went down smoothly at home.

Once I brought home a Soba Slaw. I had made it that day, and it was so tasty, I brought a litre container of it home to munch on the rest of the weekend. But any time I tried to remake it at home, it just didn’t do the trick.

I’ve tried a few times over now, using several different recipes online, different vegetables, but I think this time I got it right. And I think that because my partner stopped me from putting it away in the fridge so he could get another bowl of it.

That’s a good sign.

So here’s a quick little recipe for you to try yourself! I have to credit Mabel’s for inspiring me to try and try again with this dish at home, and in the summer time I urge you to check them out and try their food. It’s ALL so good, and some items you really need to get to first thing in the morning before they’re gone (Like the rainbow salad- seriously, I had to make that stuff every day, and those weren’t small batches!)

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Asian Soba Slaw

Makes 8 servings

  • 1/2 a small red cabbage
  • 1 small leek
  • 3″ long chunk of Yellow Heirloom Carrot (or a regular carrot, just find a nice big one)
  • 3″ long chunk of Daikon
  • 3″ chunk of cucumber
  • 1/3 pack Soba Noodles (Mine were buckwheat, but you can get various types)

For the dressing:

    • 1/4 Cup sesame seeds, toasted and set aside
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 1/4 Cup sugar
    • 1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
    • 2 Tbs Soy Sauce
    • 1/4 Cup Canola Oil (or other neutral oil)
    • a couple dashes of Red Hot Sauce, according to taste
    • a couple dashes of Worchestershire Sauce

Get a pot of water and salt it well. Set it over high heat and bring it to a boil. While that’s happening, you can toast your sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium low heat until they begin to brown and you can smell them. They may release some of their natural oils and clump together, so have a spatula ready to help spread them out evenly. When they’re lightly golden brown, remove them from the heat and let them cool on a plate.

If the water is boiling by now, put your sob noodles in and set a timer for 7 minutes, giving them a stir so they don’t stick together while they cook.

Start prepping your vegetables.

Slice the cabbage as thinly as you can, as all of the vegetables are going to be julienned. Put the sliced cabbage in a large bowl.

For the cucumber, don’t include the seedy centre in your slaw- snack on that part while you do the rest! Don’t peel the cucumber, but peel the Daikon and Carrot. Wash your leek and cut it in half, removing the few centre layers and separating the rest into 3-4 layer deep piles.

The key to julienning vegetables is to get everything squared off so your veg don’t rock around on the cutting board. So make sure all your conical vegetables are rectangular, and start slicing 1.5mm pieces length-wise.

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Then, pile up maybe 3 or 4 layers of those cuts (however many you’re comfortable with) and slice again into thin pieces, again about 1.5 mm thick.

Repeat this process with all the vegetables. The leek is the easiest part- just flatten out the layers, stack them, and slice along their length. An Alternative to all this knife-work: If you’re a spiralizer owner, you could get that out instead and speed through this process. As you do this, add all the vegetables to the bowl with the cabbage.

As your cutting the vegetables, your soba noodles are going to finish cooking. They should be Al Dente, or just slightly firm in the centre. Strain them into a colander and rinse cold water over them. Feel free to add them to the bowl with the cabbage.

Once the vegetables have been julienned, it’s just a matter of the dressing. It’s OK, the hardest part is over! All you have to do is whisk everything together in a bowl. Taste it, to be sure it’s seasoning is right- I added a bit more rice wine vinegar to mine and some salt and pepper- and pour over the vegetables.

Give it a bit of a stir, use tongues (or your hands if you’re at home and don’t mind), and then sprinkle the sesame seeds in, stirring to incorporate.

And that’s it! You’ve got a tasty dish you can be proud of! Dig in!

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References:

Adams, A. (n.d.). How to prepare julienne carrots – http://www.taste.com.au. Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://www.taste.com.au/how to/articles/1007/how to prepare julienne carrots
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