Yotam Ottolenghi never ceases to amaze with recipes whereby just 1 ingredient makes a total difference.
As such, this recipe from his latest SIMPLE cookbook looks quite straightforward, quick, and healthy cold noodle salad. Slightly nutty soba noodles with creaminess from the avocado, tangy freshness from the lime and herbs dressing, some kick from the chili, and pistachios that add the texture to the dish. That already sounds pretty good, but the addition of cardamom seeds is sheer genius as their complex citrusy, floral, and fruity flavors add an unexpected spiciness to the salad.
Here is a link to the original recipe on the Aussie Delicious website. They mention that it’s edited, but seems to be the one printed in the Plenty cookbook. The only things that I did differently were using avocado oil instead of groundnut oil, and I finished with a sprinkling of standard dried chili mix instead of nigella seeds or Urfa chili flakes.
As a bonus, here is a link to The Guardian website, which has the (original) green tea soba noodles and boiled eggs recipe (as well as two other recipes). As with other recipes from SIMPLE, there are only some minor differences to the one that ended up in the cookbook.
The first one is that the green tea soba recipe uses 1 tbsp less lime juice. This was indeed a point of discussion between Chantal and myself as she thought that it was a bit too tangy, while I felt that is was just enough to balance the richness of the avocado. Therefore, I’d recommend starting with 3 tbsp, taste, and add the final tbsp of lime juice if needed.
The second one is that garlic was used. That was indeed something that we missed in the SIMPLE recipe, and therefore I added it below.
Finally, the green tea soba recipe uses ground cardamom. The crushed cardamom seeds do provide little bursts of intense flavor, so I’d recommend the small effort to get the seeds from the pods and give them a good bash in the pestle and mortar.
The recipe (serves 4)
- 200g / 8oz buckwheat soba noodles
- ½ tsp of cardamom seeds (from about 12 pods), crushed in a pestle and mortar
- 30g / 1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 30g / 1 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- 70g / 2oz pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
- 2 limes: finely grate the zest to get 1 tsp, then juice them to get 60ml / ¼ cup
- 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges, to serve
- 4 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 green chili, deseeded and finely sliced
- 2 ripe avocados, deseeded and cut into ½ cm / ¼” slices
- ¼ tsp nigella seeds or Urfa chili flakes (optional), to sprinkle over
Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
Once cooked, refresh under cold running water and set aside in a colander to drain well.
With the flat side of a knife, crush the cardamom pods to open them up. Scrape the seeds out into a pestle and mortar and discard the outer husks. Crush the seeds to get about ½ tsp.
Place the cardamom seeds in a large mixing bowl with the cold noodles. Add the basil, coriander, pistachios, lime zest and juice, oil, garlic chili, avocado, and ½ tsp salt. Mix everything together well, taste and add more seasoning if needed.
Divide among four bowls. Spoon any avocado, pistachios, and herbs left in the mixing bowl on top. Sprinkle over the nigella seeds or chili flakes, if using, and serve with a wedge of lime.