Monday, September 13

I Loathe the Red Hot Chilli Peppers

So spring hasn’t sprung after all. But I socked it to Mother Nature, taught her a lesson she’ll not forget in a hurry. In spite of her wintry persistence I prepared a cold dish! Perfect for a balmy spring evening with a chilled glass of whatever takes your fancy followed by the first mangoes of the season.

I like to call it Sesame Soba Salad and it features this week’s lucky vegetable, the good ol’ capsicum. Or the bell pepper. Or the red pepper. The Capsicum is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Its species are native to the Americas, where they have been cultivated for thousands of years by the people of the tropical Americas, and are now cultivated worldwide. As a medicinal plant, the Capsicum species has been used as a carminative, digestive irritant, stomachic, stimulant, rubefacient, and tonic. The plants have also been used as folk remedies for dropsy, colic, diarrhea, asthma, arthritis, muscle cramps, and toothache. Handy to have in the refrigerator.

I began by cutting up three red peppers, placing them on a non-stick baking tray and roasting them in a hot oven until the skin was bubbly and charred. Then I popped them in a sealed plastic bag to cool and enable the easy removal of the skins. Meanwhile I cooked a packet of organic soba noodles (the buckwheat variety) in boiling water for four minutes before rinsing in cold water, splashing them with sesame oil (to stop them sticking together), and leaving them to drain. Meanwhile, meanwhile I topped and tailed a generous handful of long green beans and gave them two minutes in the microwave before plunging them headfirst into a bowl of icy water to stop them from continuing to cook and to maintain their emerald hue.

Meanwhile, meanwhile, meanwhile I toasted about 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds and thinly sliced a small red onion. Now to the soy and chilli dressing. I must admit my quantities were a little haphazard and the end result was achieved purely through tasting and muttering, muttering and tasting. I mixed the following ingredients together to make about two-thirds of a cup of dressing – tamari, vegetable oil, sesame oil, lime juice, raw sugar, rice wine vinegar, mirin, minced garlic, minced ginger, chopped fresh chilli, salt and pepper.

Having relieved the red pepper pieces of their skins, I cut them into strips and added them to the noodles along with the beans, red onion, sesame seeds and a cup of coriander leaves. Then I poured the dressing over, gave the salad a gentle but thorough toss and served it topped with cubes of marinated tofu and some more fresh coriander. It was alright. Admittedly if I was a contestant on Iron Chef I’d be marked down for not duly featuring the feature ingredient. But hey, what’s a poor housewife to do?
Sesame Soba Salad
Chris Bell (Pepper)!


  1. we're just back from ballet at 7pm (bedtime) and a takeaway pizza in the oven thanks to the fact that i am now 'getting my life back' eg working and being an almost full time mum and therefore having time for nothing. your birthday present going in the post on your actual birthday btw, so will be a tad late