Those who know me, know I've an indiscriminate gluttonous streak that needs little coaxing.
Those who don't know me, but hear of my surprise office treats automatically assume everything that passes my lips is artisinal this, heirloom that, slaved over the hob for hours before being perfectly plated. To them "Jasmine" and "potluck" never mix.
The fact is I love communal eating. It goes beyond snagging a long table in the caf or going around the corner to the roadhouse for a 15-minute-or-free lunch deal. To me it's all about sharing food made for friends and friends-to-be.
If I'm in an office potluck, without the luxury of proper refridgeration or a stove, I try and pull together nibbles or something that doesn't need heating. I prefer to not bring desserts and my fear of slow cookers pretty much means that I won't be bringing in a hot main.
For our last potluck I wanted something that I could make the night before, be meatless and could be kept in a cooler until serving. I also didn't want to bring in a pasta salad in its usual state--mine simply get glooshy and stodgy and would probably be best as some sort of biodegradable stucco. My decision: soba noodles--they're nuttier in flavour and sturdier, able to soak up dressing without falling apart as easily as regular wheat pasta.
The flavours are "pan-Asian" and can easily be tweaked to make it a little more Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese or Japanese, I suppose. It's up to you. I wanted to ensure there was some protein, so I doubled the dressing quantity, using half to marinate firm tofu before grilling it, which, apparently, was what was needed to convince the non-tofu eaters that bean curds are, in fact, edible.
Cold Soba Noodle Salad
1 tsp sesame oil
4 dspn rice wine vinegar
4 dspn soy sauce
juice from half a lime
1 Tbsp brown sugar
half a thumb ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
200g uncooked soba noodles
1 julienned carrot
2 spring onions, sliced
half a bell pepper, julienned
half a jalepeno pepper, minced
1Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp toasted nigella seeds
100g grilled tofu or chicken, marinated in the equal amount of dressing as above, cut into bite-sized pieces.
Mix the dressing ingredients together.
Break the noodles in half and cook according to packet instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Combine noodles, carrots, bell pepper and spring onions and optional tofu or chicken with the dressing. Cover and set in the fridge from one hour to overnight.
Before serving, sprinkle with jalepeno and toasted seeds.
(1dspn = 2tsp = 10ml)
RIP, Martin Streek
I'm a quill for hire!