Sometimes I love Daring Cooks’ challenges, and sometimes I’m just “meh” about them. This month, however, I knew right away that it was going to be a lot of fun. We often make soba noodles in our house since we learned where to find 100% buckwheat noodles, and both of us love tempura (deep fried anything is usually a winner with most people).
I originally had a lot of commentary to say (I always have lots of commentary), but today I am going to keep things short. I had a crazy busy trip to Zürich last week, and did a lot of deep thinking that I still have to process in my head a bit. So instead, I will leave you with some photos of beautiful Zürich and the lake – Zürich really has nothing to do with the dish of this Daring Cooks’ post, other than the fact that I did have sushi one night while I was there, and well, that’s Japanese too, haha…. yeah a bit of a stretch eh? Well sometimes we are stretched a bit thin – a bit like these soba noodles (ok, that was a terrible connection I know!) – so you’ll have to bear with me for the moment and just admire some pretty photos, and I’ll leave my comments on the recipe version I made below as well….
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 japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com
Zürich sits right on a lake, the Zürichsee (literally translates to Lake Zürich) – on a clear day you can see the Alps far off in the distance:
But the city itself is quite a sight as well, I love how different the architecture is from the Suisse-Romande:
I did not get to see enough of the city, so for sure I will be back. There is definitely much I have to discover!
In the meantime, you can be happy to know that soba noodles are quick, easy, and totally adaptable to whatever flavors you feel like using. My husband and I both love the flavor of buckwheat, so we actually buy 100% buckwheat soba noodles often from our favorite Japanese market (that way they are also gluten free). One great trick I learned from Daring Cooks this month though is to not only rinse the noodles after cooking, but to also dump them in ice water to keep them from glueing together so much, which is especially important if using the 100% buckwheat noodles.
As for the tempura, to convert it to gluten free, we just used cornstarch for all of the flour part (the original recipe called for both cornstarch and regular flour) to make the batter. Really, any starch should work fine – tapioca, potato, whatever you have on hand shouldn’t really matter if you can’t do the corn. Check out pink bites and itsy bitsy foodies for the tempura recipes used in this Daring Cook’s challenge. We chose to fry baby asparagus, shrimp, and zucchini. The shrimp was my favorite
*one note – I mentioned this in a comment but it may be helpful to others too – the original recipe called for a mix of starch and flour. I tried it both ways – all starch or with starch and GF flour, and didn’t notice an appreciable difference – so if you want to make gluten free tempura, do whatever you think you’ll like best.
For the dipping sauce, we based our dressing off of this Oriental Spaghetti with Cucumber and Spicy Peanut Sauce Recipe from Gourmet (1990). I omitted the peanut butter and used chopped peanuts instead for a bit thinner sauce, and of course wheat-free tamari instead of soy sauce to be gluten free.
That’s it for now, keeping this one short and sweet. Stay tuned for some of my Valentine’s Day creations and the next installment of the Amateur’s Food Photography series