Here, soba is served hot with a flavoured oil that is used to fry shallots, garlic and chili. By using the less pungent dried shrimp instead of dried prawns (hei bi) you get a more subtle taste. In case you are not sure what dried shrimps are, they are much smaller and a light brown colour compared to dried prawns. You should be able to find them in most supermarket shelves under dried goods. The shrimps also take well to toasting in the oven, which allows them to crisp up nicely as a final addition to the soba.
4 portions of soba (buckwheat) noodles
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ cup dried baby shrimp
2 chili padi, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1. Toast the baby shrimp for 15 minutes in a 180ْ C oven until crispy.
2. Fry the shallots in the oil for about 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the garlic and chili halfway through. Allow to cool slightly.
3. Cook the soba noodles in salted boiling water until al dente.
4. Toss the soba in the warm oil with the shallots, garlic and chili.
5. Divide and serve with a generous sprinkle of the shrimp and a crack of black pepper.
Mervyn is the owner and resident organiser of cooking parties at Cookyn with Mervyn. From his city studio kitchen, Mervyn guides fellow food lovers in preparing restaurant-style dishes in a fun and surprisingly easy way.