I love tamari sauce and use it interchangeably with soy sauce, which I wrote about at length when I shared a recipe for Malaysian soy sauce stir-fried noodles. Both are excellent umami agents. I find Chinese soy sauce to be saltier and more pungent, which is great in stir-fries and marinades, and the mellower taste of tamari sauce lends itself very well in a cold salad like this Japanese-themed noodle salad.
So, in the case of this recipe, it was only natural for me to investigate the difference between soy sauce and tamari sauce. While they may be similar in taste and appearance, there are some key differences to note. First of all, soy sauce originated in China and tamari sauce comes from Japan.
"Possibly more vital than the dish itself is the dressing," Tess writes in the book. This tamari dressing is my new go-to condiment for a distinct touch of Asian flavor in salads or as a quick vegetable marinade.
Cucumber, green onions, green chile, and cilantro give it an appetizing green crunch along with earthy sesame seeds while fruity mango really takes this Asian salad up a notch. I like keeping things versatile so feel free to swap cucumber with zucchini if you prefer an overall softer bite. Add some protein like tofu, tempeh or even an egg and you have yourself a nice one-bowl meal.
Easy and quick, this salad is just as perfect for sharing as it is for a solo fix. What's more, it can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Tastes better cold and with time, if you ask me!
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Soba Noodle Salad with Tamari Dressing
A refreshing cold salad with a Japanese theme featuring buckwheat noodles and a zesty tamari dressing. Add tofu, tempeh or an egg for a convenient one-bowl meal. This recipe serves 2 and can easily be doubled.
3 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon liquid sweetener (honey/ maple/ agave)
1/2 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 oz (110g) soba noodles
1 small cucumber, cut into fine strips
1 small mango, cut into fine strips
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 small green chile
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
A handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
To make the tamari dressing, put all the ingredients into a small jar, put a lid on, and shake well to mix. It can be stored in a closed jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add soba noodles. Cook until the noodles are soft but firm to the bite (al dente), about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse well under cold water. If not serving immediately, place the noodles in a bowl covered with water to prevent them from getting sticky.
When ready to serve, drain the noodles well. In a bowl, toss the noodles with half of the dressing, cucumber, mango, green onions, chile, and most of the sesame seeds and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide into individual serving bowls, and top with the rest of the sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.
To serve cold, combine all the ingredients without the dressing and toss with a small drizzle of olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking. Refrigerate both the salad mix and dressing for a few hours. Mix the dressing in just before eating.