If you are a salad person in summer (who’s not?!), my chicken soba noodle salad is definitely for you! Enjoying it chilled is like a nice summer breeze. So, you can definitely make it ahead of time. This chicken soba noodle salad will store in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. Perfect if you are batch cooking fan.Jump to Recipe
What you will need to make this delicious soba noodle salad
Soba noodles – they are from Japan where people often eat them cold like Zaru soba (I will translate the recipe in English but in the meantime, please use google translation for help). There are two types of soba noodles; the ju-wari soba that are 100% made with buckwheat flour. And there is the hachi-wari soba that contains an average of 20% of wheat flour. The latter variety is the most commonly sold at the supermarkets. If you cannot eat gluten, I highly recommend you check the ingredient list on the soba noodle package!
Poached chicken breasts – I usually poach more chicken breasts so I can use some to make sandwiches. You can totally make this dish vegetarian by using soft boiled eggs instead. Or even plant-based by substituting the animal protein with pan fried tofu cubes or boiled edamame.
English cucumber – I like this variety of cucumber as it is the least bitter to my opinion. And it’s the largest one so if you use another variety of cucumber, adjust the quantity. I like adding cucumber here as it makes this dish so much more refreshing
Garlic, ginger and sesame seeds – fear not of the quantity of garlic and ginger here. By frying them on low heat they’ll become milder but bring so much flavour to the dressing
Soy sauce and rice vinegar – I personally use Chinese black vinegar Chinkiang vinegar that is made with fermented black rice. It is mildly acidic. You can of course use white rice vinegar. But know that this black vinegar is the one used in your dim sum dipping sauce, in case you would like to have it in your pantry and look for other ways to use it.
Garnish with spring onions, coriander – I love adding fresh herbs to my dishes. It makes them so colourful and instantly whet the appetite
How I poach and shred the chicken breasts for my soba noodle salad
My mother taught me that ginger not only brings so much flavour to a dish, but it also helps to get rid of the smell in meat, fish and seafood. That is why I always have fresh ginger at home. I actually have my own pot where I grow ginger roots.
Wash the chicken breasts under cold water and place them into a medium size pot with few slices of ginger. I often have some white part of spring onions left in the fridge, so I add them in the pot. They are totally optional, only if like me you use a lot of the green part of spring onions. Fill the pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about an hour and half. Then shred them right out of the pan. Don’t discard the water as it can be use in lieu of chicken stock.
As mentioned earlier, I usually I poach more than what the recipe calls. I then prepare some sandwiches for a quick and easy lunch. One of our favourite sandwich combinations is a layer of cashew pesto, few slices of tomato, arugula, chicken and mozzarella cheese if we happen to have that day. Poaching the chicken ahead of time drastically cut the cooking time of the salad. Of course, you can prepare the dressing, the garnish and cook the soba noodles while the chicken breasts are being poached.
How to perfectly cook soba noodles
Soba noodles are relatively thin, so they cook fast. Because of the little to no gluten in the noodles, they would easily break when overcooked. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the bundles of soba in the boiling water right at the centre of the pot and let them fall around. Gently stir with a pair of chopsticks so they don’t stick. Cook according to the instructions on the package. I personally take them out 30 seconds before the indicated cooking time.
While the soba noodles are cooking, fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and ice cubes. As soon as the noodles are cooked drain into a sieve over the sink. Run the sieve under cold water while running your hand through the noodles to evenly rinse them. Then transfer the noodles in the ice water. Drain well before placing the noodles in a large salad bowl.
Fragrant soba noodle salad dressing
Mince the spring onions by separating the green from the white. Thinly mince the garlic and ginger. Though you can totally use a zester for the ginger, I don’t recommend you crush the garlic with a presser. The garlic presser will give a very strong garlic paste. The overpowering garlicky taste may discourage some people.
Add the white onion, sesame seeds, minced garlic and ginger, and the neutral vegetable oil in a small saucepan and turn on the heat to low. Let the oil become fragrant, it will take about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool. Add the soy sauce and vinegar, salt and sugar. If you make the dressing at the very beginning, it will allow the flavour to nicely combine together.
Even though we can’t feel summer heat in Mexico City due to the wet season, I like to eat salad for lunch. The best way to put you in the mood and cheer up. Funny enough, I make soup for dinner because it has been very cold lately … if you are already enjoying sunny days then you must try this recipe. Don’t forget to tag me on social media @nourishbylu so I can check your delicious plate!
Chicken soba noodle saladCourse: MainCuisine: JapaneseDifficulty: Easy
2 bundles of soba noodle (~210g)
2 chicken breasts
1/2 English cucumber
Few slices of fresh ginger
2 spring onions
Few sprigs of coriander
- For the salad dressing
10 g garlic
10 g fresh ginger
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
4 tbsp neutral vegetable oil
2 tbsp light soy or tamari sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
- Poach the chicken breasts
- Wash the chicken breasts under cold water and place in a medium cooking pot
- Add few slices of fresh ginger
- Fill the pot with 1.5 L water
- Cover with the lid and bring to a boil
- Simmer for about an hour and half
- Shred the breasts and set aside
- Make the salad dressing
- Mince the spring onions and add the white part to a small saucepan
- Mince the garlic and ginger, add to the same pot
- Add the sesame seeds as well as the vegetable oil
- Place the pan over low heat for about five minutes or until it becomes fragrant
- Turn off the heat and let the oil cool a bit before adding the soy sauce, vinegar, salt and sugar
- Combine well and set aside
- Assemble the salad
- Cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions and rinse under cold water before adding to a iced water bowl
- Drain well and transfer to a large salad bowl
- Cut the cucumber in matchsticks and add to the salad bowl
- Roughly chop the coriander and add to the salad bowl
- Pour the salad dressing, add the shredded chicken and top with the green onion
- Combine well. You can serve immediately or let it chill in the fridge
- You can substitute the chicken with soft-boiled eggs to make it vegetarian or with boiled edamame or pan fried tofu cubes to make it plant based
- I also like to garnish with toasted nori flakes or/and grilled and crushed peanuts for additional crunch