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Soba Noodles

I have never understood the obsession people have with New Year’s resolutions…What’s that all about?

If I was one of those people my resolution for a new year would be to do less and rest more, watch as many films as I can, read as many books as I can, and do nothing in between…Perfect.

Although I understand that people feel a bit heavier after Christmas, a bit more depressed. January is a long month, you’ve spent all the money you had (or didn’t have) around holiday season. It’s dark most of the time outside (unless you live in the southern hemisphere). You spent too much time with your family (some of you were asked too many times when you are going to get married, some of you ‘why don’t you have a baby yet’, etc.) So now it’s the time for something totally different.

Do I have just the right treat for you??? I mean, come on, we are talking simplicity, style, taste and an oriental, zen-like approach here.

Firstly two words: Takeshi Kitano.

Absolute genius and master of cinema. My sister and I watched his films obsessively.

Many years ago at one of the film festivals I went to, I had the pleasure of seeing ‘Hana-bi’. It’s left me in awe to this day. It’s a really powerful film, visually and emotionally.


The main character, Nishi (played by Kitano) leaves the police after a terrible accident which left his partner wheelchair-bound. He also needs to take care of his ill wife. The film is very Japanese. Non verbal communication is very important. Nishi doesn’t exchange many words with his wife, but you can feel so many emotions between them, so much love, it makes your chest feel all tight.

There’s also a complete lack of the western type of violence – no 5 minute-long-fights, name calling, sweat and blood before actually killing someone. Oh no. There’s violence, but different –  precise and unglamourized, shocking and sudden, very realistic. The scenes of violence are short and well directed, they leave you completely shaken. The rest of the film is beautifully shot with static scenes. As a part of dichotomy there are scenes with Nishi’s partner who starts painting after the accident. His work is gentle and peaceful. Funnily enough, it was painted by Kitano himself after he had an accident.

I don’t want to say too much about the film to spoil it for you, but if you haven’t watched it already, now is the time. I remember a few of my friends didn’t get the gentle humour, and the way it was filmed, but if you love Japanese culture, you will fall in love with this one. And I don’t believe you have to understand Japanese customs, politeness, dichotomy of beauty and ugliness to enjoy it. Just have an open mind.

To pair it with, something simple but oh-so-delicious and gluten free (as it is made of buckwheat)…

Soba Noodles

soba noodles

soba noodles

soba noodles

1/2 cucumber, diced

2 tbsp black toasted sesame seeds

For the sauce:

bunch of spring onions, chopped

ginger (2 cm) grated

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tbsp coriander, chopped

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp chopped chili

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp honey

1/2 lime juice

1tsp tahini

1 tsp miso

1. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Leave it for 15 minutes for the flavours to develop.

2. Boil soba noodles. Before you drain them, heat your sauce gently in a non-stick pan. Add noodles, sesame seeds and cucumber. Mix well and enjoy!

soba noodles

soba noodles

soba noodles

soba noodles

soba noodles

soba noodles



About potatofaces

People who cook always go on about precious memories of childhood food one of their family members cooked, how daddy or nanny taught them the importance of cooking and eating together, and they still remember the comfort food they produced, amazing dishes whipped up by brilliant but humble cooks in their family. Well, let me tell you, it was totally different in my family. My mother’s family – totally useless as cooks, who could survive on bread and butter, cooked once a week a terrible, terrible meal, usually some kind of meat piece with lots of brown sauce. Also, they were never bothered about eating together. That’s maybe why most of them were depressed and suicidal. My mother followed that path and couldn’t really cook, and because I never wanted to eat meat, was warning me that ‘one day I will regret it’. Probably because my mother wasn’t into cooking my sister at the age of 12 took over and started producing amazing dinners and cakes. Well, luckily for me and her we weren’t that genetically doomed because apparently my father’s family were gifted in that compartment. I can only presume it was genes, as my father divorced my mother when my sis and me were little and he strongly believed that he also divorced us. So, we were growing up never having any contact with him and as a result, couldn’t learn how to cook from him. That’s why I believe the love of cooking ( and the ability) was just passed to us genetically. My father, short time before he died, unexpectedly felt an urge to contact us. First he gave my sister a mandolin (that’s another thing I know about him- he played a few instruments). My sister refused to talk to him, he then decided to contact me and wanted to spend some time with me. I didn’t want to, as he was a stranger to me (I was 11 or 12 at the time) but as I was promised I could leave whenever I wanted to, I went to the village he lived in. There I tried his mother’s cooking everyone was raving about. It was simple and amazing, I wish they were as family dedicated as they were at baking, cooking, making pastries, wine, tinctures, you name it. But I ate, drunk, and got bored of strangers who were my family and demanded to be let to go home. One of the last things my father said to me was that I should start learning English because I might need it one day, which I ignored for another 16 years… Because my sister was such a domestic goddess I wasn’t really bothered about cooking. I got hooked properly after my son was born and I wanted him to eat healthy and get everything he needed, especially that it wasn’t his choice to be a vegetarian (yet). And that is how the story begins…

2 responses »

  1. I’m definitely in the “spent too much time with family” category, and the “why don’t you have a baby, yet” came up more than a few times..*sighs*
    Anyway..Those noodles look yummy!


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