Julia Busuttil Nishimura's chicken soba salad with sesame dressing and furikake

Make your own furikake seasoning (or buy it ready-made).
Make your own furikake seasoning (or buy it ready-made). Photo: William Meppem

Soba salad is such a quick and easy lunch. A simple dressing, some raw and blanched vegetables and last night's roast chicken come together to make for a nutritious and satisfying meal. A flexible all-rounder, you can swap the chicken for tofu, hard-boiled eggs or cooked prawns, and vary the vegetables you add, choosing vegies that will stay nice and crunchy come lunchtime.

Ingredients

300g soba noodles

300g leftover roast chicken, shredded

1 carrot, peeled and julienned

150g snap peas, trimmed and julienned

1 spring onion, sliced diagonally, plus extra to serve

100g shelled edamame, blanched

1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced into thin rounds

Sesame-soy dressing

3 tbsp light soy

2 tbsp apple cider or rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp tahini or sesame paste

1 tsp finely grated ginger

½ tsp caster sugar

Furikake*

1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds

1 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds

½ sheet toasted nori, finely chopped or torn

½ tsp chilli powder, plus more to taste

½ tsp flaky sea salt, plus more to taste

pinch caster sugar

1 dried shiitake mushroom, finely grated or ground in a spice blender

Method

1. Make the sesame-soy dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.

2. Make the furikake by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Check for seasoning, adding more chilli or salt if desired.

3. Cook the soba noodles according to the packet directions. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Place in a bowl with the vegetables and shredded chicken. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine.

4. Top the salad with extra spring onions and a generous scattering of furikake, if using.

*Tip: For extra flavour, I've included a recipe for furikake, a Japanese seasoning that really makes this salad pop. You can buy it ready-made, but making a batch at home is simple, and you can vary it to suit your palate. It's important to toast the nori sheet before cutting it up so it stays nice and crisp. This is easily done by waving it over a gas flame a few times or toasting it in a dry frypan. The dried shiitake easily becomes a powder when finely grated and brings with it a lot of umami.

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