Buckwheat Noodles with Salmon and Avocado

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I like messing with tradition, so this recipe from Jane Lawson’s cookbook Yoshoku Contemporary Japanese is right up my alley. It’s a beautifully styled and photographed collection of recipes that stem from the established tradition of fusing Japanese and Western food. Yes, the Japanese did fusion before us. And they do it brilliantly.

Jane Lawson's cookbook Yoshuku
Jane Lawson’s cookbook Yoshoku

The recipe I literally flung together yesterday is an adaptation of the cover photograph of Jane’s book, for green tea noodle salad. There are no green tea noodles to be found in Cape Town that I know of, but most good supermarkets sell soba noodles, which is what you really want to make this. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour, so it’s gluten-free.

There was a profusion of beautiful fresh herbs and leaves in the shops yesterday, so I was inspired to add some to Jane’s recipe, with delicious results. The recipe that follows below is my version.

Soba noodle salad with fresh herbs, salmon, avocado and ginger-soy-sesame dressing
Soba noodle salad with fresh herbs, salmon, avocado and ginger-soy-sesame dressing

Serves 4 smallish portions

250g soba noodles, broken in half *see cook’s note below

1/2 cup dried wakame seaweed (optional but seriously recommended)

1 punnet cherry vine tomatoes, chopped up

two large handfuls baby spinach, torn into pieces

2 small ripe avocados, cut into chunks

Bunch of spring onions, chopped

fresh mint, basil, chives, rocket, according to taste, chopped

80 g smoked salmon trout, torn into pieces

1 T (15ml) toasted sesame seeds

salt and pepper


4 T (60ml) Japanese or light soy sauce

2 T (30ml) sesame oil

4 T (60ml) rice vinegar

2 T (30ml) Mirin

1 t (5ml) castor sugar

1 T (15ml) grated fresh ginger

1 T (15ml) toasted sesame seeds


1. Whisk all the dressing ingredients and set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and drop in the soba noodles. Stir well to loosen noodles.     Cook until al dente and drain in a colander. Rinse noodles well under cold running water, making sure     they don’t stick together. Leave to cool completely.

3. If you do have some dried wakame seaweed, toast it gently over a slow heat until aromatic but not           scorched, and crush lightly between your fingertips.

4 To serve, combine all the salad ingredients with the noodles, pour over the dressing and let the salad      rest for 10 minutes before serving, so that all the flavours marry. Best eaten within 3 hours of            making.

*Cook’s tip: To break noodles or spaghetti in half without messing up your entire kitchen floor, position the noodles, still in its packaging, on your kitchen counter so that half the packet is on the counter and half is overhanging. Press down hard and voila! broken noodles!

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Celebrating life with food, wine, friends & happiness! Writer, cook and blogger. Author of four cookbooks. Passionately South African, proudly Capetonian.