Traditionally, soba (buckwheat) noodles are served chilled, with a simple dipping sauce of soy, mirin and dashi. On a hot day, they are more cooling than an air conditioner and a swimming pool combined. I have added chilled, fresh oysters for a touch of untraditional luxury, thereby probably blowing the zen of the dish out of the water, but it’s worth it.
To make dressing, bring water to the boil, and add dashi powder, mirin and soy, stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Cook noodles in plenty of boiling water for 6 to 8 minutes until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite. Drain and rinse in cold water, then drain again.
Soak wakame in a small bowl of warm water for 15 minutes, where it will expand like crazy. Drain and set aside.
Finely cut onion greens on the diagonal and set aside. Peel cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cut into thin slices, then again into matchstick lengths.
Toss cucumber, noodles, drained wakame and sesame oil together in a bowl, and distribute among four Japanese bowls. Moisten each bowl with a spoonful or two of the dressing. Top with chilled oysters, 3 per bowl, moisten with a little remaining dressing, and scatter with onion greens.
Serve with Japanese pickled ginger.
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