Soba salad with hot smoked mackerel, spring onions, courgettes

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This soba noodle salad recipe is topped with smoked mackerel and ribbons of griddled courgette for a deliciously simple dinner. A simple dressing of garlic, ginger and mirin finishes the dish off beautifully, complementing the nutty soba noodles with its sweetness.

First published in 2016

The strong nutty flavour of these buckwheat noodles speak for themselves, so I favour simple ingredients and a light dressing whenever I’m making a soba dish. As soba noodles are eaten cool, don’t be silly and make just a single portion; I always double the batch for next day’s lunchbox. This dressed soba recipe is incredibly versatile and works with any of your favourite vegetables. I often go for whatever crisp raw vegetables I have, so there is hardly any cooking involved beyond blanching the noodles, stirring sauces together and chopping up some vegetables. This time round, as I’ve actually got the luxury of a leisurely lunch at home, I grilled the courgettes for a wonderful warm contrast to the cold salad. Along with smoked mackerel and the sweet mirin dressing, this makes for a perfect balance of salty, sweet, nutty and smoky flavours.




Soba noodle salad


  • soy sauce, 3-4 tbsp, I tend to use Kikkoman regular soy sauce (not reduced salt, and not tamari) and used 3 tablespoons in this case
  • 3 tbsp of mirin
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 knob of ginger, 1 inch in length, grated


Blanch the soba noodles in boiling water until just cooked. Drain well and rinse with cold running water (ice cold if you can!) to remove any starchiness. Toss with sesame oil to keep from sticking and set aside
Slice the courgettes lengthwise into 1 cm-thick strips. Toss with groundnut oil and a pinch of salt. Set your griddle pan on medium-high heat until slightly smoking
Spread the courgettes out, and grill, flipping once, until they turn tender and have charred lines on both sides. Set aside
Prepare the dressing by stirring all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust proportions as needed, as some brands are saltier than others. The sauce should taste like a balanced mix of sweet and salty
Combine the noodles, courgette and spring onions together in a large mixing bowl. Gently break the smoked mackerel into large flakes and give everything a good tossing
Divide into bowls and serve alongside the dressing. You can choose to dip the noodles in the dressing or pour the dressing over and give the salad a final light toss before digging in
First published in 2016

Shu grew up in Singapore and continues her nation's obsession with food in London, where she writes about food that's seasonal, British, yet Singaporean at the same time.

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