Traditional Filipino cuisine does not have a lot of fresh vegetable salad dishes in its repertoire. Most vegetables are cooked in soups or stews, some are steamed and served with a side of dip or some form of chutney or relish. It's quite surprising because even with the warm tropical climate, cooked vegetables are almost always the only option in most homes across the island. The reason is that while there are available salad vegetable varieties, they are pricey as they come from the upper north or the south where the climates are cooler.
Growing up, I can't remember salads serve on the dinner table except for the usual tomato-onion-green mango that comes with a good barbeque, classic salads are only to be had when dining out in restaurants.
Living in Australia has opened a lot of fresh green doors for me. My kids are now accustomed to fresh salad and veggies on the table, lettuce in their sandwiches, cucumber slices in their lunch box... the works. Especially as the season becomes warmer, fresh and cold salads are the best way to serve the day's healthy portions.
Now the real hero here is the dressing, aka peanut sauce. The soba noodles add the healthy protein touch. This recipe is adapted from Pallavi Gupta through Honest Cooking.
To make this salad just add vegetables which you are keen to eat fresh and raw - cucumbers, lettuce leaves, cherry tomators, grated carrots, slices of capsicum. You can just play around with the quantities. But for this salad of 4 serves, I used:
60 grams organic soba Hakubakku brand, cooked according to packet instructions then drained through cold running water.
(I used 2 bundles from the 90g pack)
half capsicum, julienned
6 pieces cherry tomatoes, sliced in two
1 cucumber, sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 brocolli, stems removed
2 stalks of spring onions, sliced
For the sauce:
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1 red chilli, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
60 ml warm water (or less)
Combine the peanut butter, chilli, garlic, sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce in a bowl and whisk together. Add the warm water a tablespoon at a time and continue whisking until you get the desired consistency of the sauce.
Place the cold soba noodles in a large bowl, add the vegetables and toss together. Drizzle the peanut sauce when serving.
Tips and tips
* You can add as many or as few raw/fresh vegetables in this salad. Just make sure you slice them thinly (julienned).
* You can make the sauce as thick or as thin as you like, just add (or don't add) warm water as you prefer.
* I made this a day ahead and it became think in the fridge. I diluted it with a little bit of warm water and added a few more teaspoons of sweet chilli sauce to suit my taste.
Perfect for the warm spring weather for a weekday lunch, entree or to accompany hot BBQ on a weekend.