March is a funny month of the year. Spring feels imminent, but not quite here: in the UK, we are still firmly in the cold. I turn to food to work through it, eating to keep me pepped up. In this salad, raw garlic and ginger bring goodness, the herbs and spring onions add freshness of flavour, and the buckwheat noodles and broccoli are sustaining without feeling too heavy.
Spicy soba noodle, sesame and purple sprouting broccoli salad
Prep 10 min
Cook 10 min
For the dressing
1 large garlic clove, peeled
A thumb of ginger, peeled
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp honey
3 tbsp tahini
1-2 tsp chilli oil, plus extra, to serve
For the soup
4 spring onions, sliced
A big handful each of coriander and mint, chopped
250g soba noodles
400g purple sprouting broccoli, roughly chopped
Sesame seeds, to serve
For the dressing, finely grate the garlic and ginger into a large bowl, then stir in the soy sauce, rice-wine vinegar, sesame oil, honey, tahini and chilli oil, and set aside.
Slice the spring onions and wash, pick and chop the herbs.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, then cook the noodles for five to six minutes, until tender but not mushy. While they are cooking, fetch a colander and a large bowl of cold water. Once the noodles are cooked, drain them through the colander, then tip into the water and, using your hands, wash them of their starch. This will keep them silky and stop them clumping together.
Now steam the broccoli for a few minutes until tender, adding the noodles to the steamer after one or two minutes, to heat them through again. (Or serve the noodles cold, if you prefer.)
Add the noodles and broccoli to the dressing and toss with the spring onions and herbs. Taste and add a splash more vinegar or soy, if needed. Transfer to a plate and serve with extra chilli oil drizzled over the top and a scattering of toasted sesame seeds.
The simple flex …
This salad is delicious with slivers of bashed-out pork tenderloin served on the side, or serve it as a side for pieces of sticky roast chicken.