Spring Rolls with Soba Noodles and Cucumber by With a glass


Due to a kitchen remodel I’ll be without a kitchen for a few weeks, so I’ve asked some friends to keep my virtual kitchen going with some of their fabulous recipes. This week Sissi of With a Glass dropped by and brought some delicious spring rolls!

I can’t remember how long I’ve been visiting Sissi’s blog, but I do remember that the first time I landed there I knew that I would be back again and again and again – and I have!  Sissi never fails to WOW me.  She can make just about anything and does! Her recipes range from homemade ketchup to Hungarian stew, Kumquat Vodka to Easy Shrimp Dumplings .   One of the things I love most about Sissi’s recipes is that they are not intimidating.  Anyone can make them and they all look delicious!  So when you head over to Sissi’s site, be prepared to spend some time there, because once you start surfing, you won’t be able to stop.

It’s all yours Sissi!

Hello, dear readers of MJ’s Kitchen. My name is Sissi and I am honoured to be guest posting on MJ’s blog today. When MJ invited me to blog sit for her I was extremely flattered. I admire MJ’s natural, compelling writing style, beautifully styled photos and, most of all, her fabulous recipes, often with fascinating South-American or Mexican origins. MJ says they are simple, but for someone who lives in Europe tamales, pecan nuts, tomatillos or succotash sound intriguing and exotic, so I always read MJ’s posts with eyes wide open. Thank you, MJ, for inviting me to your kitchen!

When I asked MJ if she had any dish preferences, she suggested Asian cuisine. Asian cookery inspires the majority of my meals, so I have happily welcomed her idea. The last hot sunny days are still there, so I have chosen to present you a recent snack discovery. It is a cross between Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine, driven by an inspiring recipe on a… Korean blog. It sounds a bit complicated, but in reality this four-ingredient recipe is quite quick and simple.

Vietnamese rice paper used to prepare the famous spring rolls is a versatile staple I enjoy every summer. It is easy to stock, it has a very long shelf life and filled with vegetable or meat leftovers, it can be transformed into delicious, light sandwich alternatives. Even though I experiment a lot with rice paper, I would have never thought of combining them with Japanese soba noodles (see Kitchen Notes below), if I hadn’t spotted Soba and Kimchi Rolls at Heart Mind and Seoul blog. The rolls looked delicious and the presence of soba noodles was particularly surprising and tempting. The day I decided to recreate this recipe I ran out of kimchi, so I decided to replace it with cucumber for a crunchy, fresh note.

These simple rolls proved to be one of these rare vegetarian (and even vegan) snacks in which, even as an avowed carni- and piscivore, I didn’t mind the absence of fish or meat. This is probably due to the fact that soba noodles have a high protein content and are quite filling. They are satiating, but not heavy thanks to the substantial amount of the cucumber and the light, hot dipping sauce. They are an excellent alternative to sandwiches and I have particularly appreciated them as an afternoon snack. Halved horizontally, they make original party finger food. For a more complete meal, I can imagine them as a side dish with grilled meat or fish.


Spring Rolls with Soba Noodles and Cucumber Recipe

Ingredients (for 5 – 6 rolls)

Preparation: about 20 minutes

6 rice paper sheets (22 cm/about 8.6 in. diameter)
50 – 60 g (about 2 oz.) soba noodles
1/2 big cucumber
2 – 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Dipping sauce:

5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (or less if using standard soy sauce)
1 tablespoon chili oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar


  1. Cook the soba noodles for 3-4 minutes in boiling unsalted water (the time depends on the brand and the kind of noodles, so check the exact time on the package).
  2. Drain the noodles with very cold water to stop them from further softening.
  3. Cut the noodles in two (shorter noodles will be easier to use here) and put aside.
  4. Prepare the cucumber cutting it in 6 cm sticks.
  5. Fill a big wide bowl with warm (not hot) water.
  6. Dip rice paper sheets one by one in the water, immersing them delicately so that you don’t break them.
  7. As soon as the sheet softens (about ten – twenty seconds), put it onto a chopping board.
  8. Place horizontally, about 5 cm/2 in. from the rice paper edge which is closest to you, a stack composed of noodles and cucumber pieces.
  9. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and roll tightly but delicately, starting from the edge which is closest to you.
  10. Proceed in the same way with the remaining rolls.
  11. Serve them immediately as they are or cut in two horizontally.
  12. If you wish to serve them later, wrap them individually in cling film because they dry out very quickly.



Kitchen Notes

Soba (蕎麦) means in Japanese both buckwheat and buckwheat noodles. Soba noodles have a nutty taste and a characteristic strong aroma and can be served in both hot and cold dishes, the latter being particularly popular in cooling summer dishes. They are popular in whole Japan, but particularly in Tokio. According to Wikipedia, in the Edo period (from 1603 to 1868) the rich population of Edo (the ancient name of Tokio) who consumed only white rice, were poor in thiamine (vitamin B1), the deficiency of which lead to beriberi. When it was discovered that soba was rich in thiamine, the Edo population started to consume it in big amounts.

Dried noodles called “soba” can be bought in Japanese grocery shops, but most of them contain a mixture of buckwheat and wheat flours, so check well the ingredients before buying. My favourite are 100% buckwheat soba (juwari 十割 or towari) because of their intense flavour and aroma, but some people find them too strong. Soba noodles are usually light brown, but they can also be green when mixed with green tea (cha soba) or seaweed (hegi soba) and light pink when flavoured with cherry (sakura soba).

Buckwheat is not only transformed into flour and consumed not only in Japan, but in fact, hulled and roasted buckwheat grains are very popular in several Central and Eastern European countries (Russia, Poland, Ukraine…). In France “gallettes” or savoury crêpes originating from Brettany region are also made with buckwheat flour.

Belonging to the Fagopyrum genus, buckwheat is not a grass, nor a cereal, even though it looks like one. Its qualities are so numerous, it is surprising most of the Western countries never consume it. It is very rich in protein, minerals, antioxidants, and iron. It doesn’t contain any gluten; therefore, it can be consumed by people who don’t tolerate gluten. Moreover, buckwheat grows very quickly and easily. That is why it can be cultivated in cold climate and crops can be easily multiplied in hot regions. If you ever have the chance, taste buckwheat honey. It has an unforgettable aroma and taste.

MJ:  Thank you so much Sissi for keeping my kitchen stocked with such a wonderful snack!

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68 Responses to “Spring Rolls with Soba Noodles and Cucumber by With a glass”

  1. Gail February 28, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    Found your website when looking for Preserved Lemon & Rice recipe. I look forward to trying yours & other fun ideas I see. Thanks

    • mj March 1, 2013 at 9:58 am #

      Thanks Gail! I’m so glad you found my site! If you get a chance, you really should try to Preserved lemon rice. It’s a favorite in this house. 🙂 Thank you for leaving a comment and I hope to hear from you again. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of my recipes.

  2. Magic of Spice November 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    Hi Sissi, boy do these look delicious! I adore fresh spring rolls and will have to try this out 🙂

  3. Amber @ The Cook's Sister October 1, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Yum! These rolls look amazing! A perfect item to pack for lunch.

  4. Food Jaunts September 22, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    These look so refreshing with the cucumber. I love fresh summer rolls/spring rolls.

  5. Viviane Bauquet Farre September 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Gorgeous, MJ! The soba noodles have a fantastic visual effect and definitely add a substance to these rolls. I bet the texture is quite interesting too – a nice mix between firm and slimy if done properly. Thanks for another amazing recipe out of your endlessly creative kitchen!

  6. Tania @ A Perfect Pantry September 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    What a healthy looking dish, plus I’m a big fan of soba noodles. Yum.

  7. Tina (PinayInTexas) September 17, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Wow! Love the look of those spring rolls! Great guest post, Sissi!

    How’s the kitchen renovation going, MJ?

  8. Kristen September 17, 2012 at 5:05 am #

    I don’t envy you not having a kitchen, but I am sure the end results will be worth the inconvenience. Here’s hoping that it is done on schedule.

    Those spring rolls sound delicious. I love the soba noodles in the filling…so hearty!

  9. Raymund September 17, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    Very nice simple and healthy treat!

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:44 am #

      Thanks, Raymund.

  10. Baker Street September 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    Wow! Thanks for introducing me to Sissi! These spring rolls look amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever tried soba noodles in a spring roll before.

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:45 am #

      Thank you, Baker Street.

  11. Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings September 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Hi Sissi…what an awesome idea to use soba noodles for a fresh spring roll like this! Now, I’m Asian, but had never even thought of doing this! This is genius!

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:44 am #

      Hi, Jen. Thank you so much, I’m really flattered by such compliments especially from an Asian person 🙂

  12. vianney September 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Hi Sissi~ those rools look divine! A perfect light treat for lunch or a tea party~

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:43 am #

      Hi, Vianney. Thank you so much for the compliment.

  13. LinsFood September 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    I love the sound and the look of this recipe! What a fantastic starter for parties!

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:43 am #

      Thank you. It’s a good party snack idea indeed.

  14. Kate@Diethood September 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Oh my, those spring rolls look so so good!

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:42 am #

      Thanks, Kate.

  15. kitchenriffs September 16, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Soba noodles are great, but I don’t believe I’ve ever had them in a spring roll. Lovely idea, and they look so pretty! Really good recipe, excellent guest post. Thanks so much. Looking forward to seeing pictures of the completed kitchen!

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:42 am #

      Thank you very much, Kitchenriffs. It was also the first time I had them this way.

  16. Karen (Back Road Journal) September 16, 2012 at 6:22 am #

    Thank you MJ and Sissi for this lovely guest post. I haven’t tried soba noodles yet but have rice paper in my pantry. Hope the remodel is on schedule but am enjoying your guests.

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:42 am #

      Thank you so much, Karen. Soba noodles are unusual and definitely worth trying.

  17. Katherine Martinelli September 16, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    These look absolutely delicious!! Great guest post.

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:41 am #

      Thanks a lot, Katherine.

  18. peachkins September 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    healthy and delicious!!! what a wonderful snack!

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:40 am #

      Thank you, Peachkins.

  19. Terra September 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    I hope you get to use your kitchen soon, but what lovely guest blogs!!! I have met new food bloggers, I love that:-) The spring rolls look like a nice light meal! Beautiful, Hugs, Terra

    • mj September 15, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

      Thanks Terra! I hope it gets finish soon too! Looks like I’ll be able to move back in on the 27th. Keeping my fingers crossed! I’m so glad you’ve met some new wonderful bloggers here! Thanks for supporting them and hope you’re having a great weekend!

    • Sissi September 17, 2012 at 2:40 am #

      Thank you, Terra.

  20. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb September 15, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    Hi MJ and sissi! It so odd to see a post of sissis on a different blog. I am going to check out later if we get soba here. First time I hear it though.

    • mj September 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      Hello to you Helene and thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you can find some soba noodles!

  21. Carolyn Jung September 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Love it — a way to eat noodles with your fingers. 😉
    Be perfect for a party, too.

    • Sissi September 15, 2012 at 5:56 am #

      Thank you, Carolyn. It would be a great party snack, indeed (for vegan guests especially!).

  22. LIz September 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    Oh, boy, do these look delicious! You have a fun line up of guest bloggers! Great job, Sissi!

    • Sissi September 15, 2012 at 5:55 am #

      Thanks a lot, Liz.

  23. kankana September 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    I like how you used soba noodle instead of rice noodle. Makes it more filling with texture!

    • Sissi September 15, 2012 at 5:55 am #

      Thanks, Kankana.

  24. Debra September 13, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Love soba noodles and The Hubs loves cukes. I would have to make a dipping sauce though. Great post.

    • Sissi September 14, 2012 at 2:30 am #

      Thank you, Debra.

  25. wok with ray September 13, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    How nice and exciting to see two of my favorite foodie friends getting together on a wonderful post. Oh, Sissi is such a great choice for a guest post. The recipes that she brings are just mouthwatering and this spring rolls are one of them. Thank you MJ for bringing in Sissi and Sissi, what can I say. . . you’re an amazing cook. 🙂

    • Sissi September 14, 2012 at 2:29 am #

      Thank you, Ray, for so many kind words and compliments. It means a lot to me.

    • mj September 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      Thanks Ray!

  26. Winnie September 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    These are amazing spring rolls
    I’m a vegetarian and these are perfect for me
    You really have a great blog with interesting recipes

    • mj September 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      Thanks Winnie!! These spring rolls are amazing! Love the soba noodle idea!

  27. A_Boleyn September 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Thank you for bringing Sissi over to do this post because it introduced me to your great blog. So many interesting recipes to peruse.

    As a big fan of summer rolls, I always enjoy seeing new filling ideas like these soba noodles.

    • mj September 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by!

  28. Angie@Angie's Recipes September 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Sissi, MJ, thanks for sharing this delicious and healthy spring roll recipe. I love the idea of using soba instead of glass noodle.

    • Sissi September 14, 2012 at 2:28 am #

      Thank you so much, Angie.

  29. Nami | Just One Cookbook September 13, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Yay Sissi! What a well-written guest post. Thanks MJ for bringing Sissi here, and we know she’ll wow us. I’ve been a close friend with Sissi for a long long time (wait, not that long, seems long tho) and she inspires me a lot. What a wonderful creation. I have only 1 bundle of soba noodle in pantry and not enough to eat as cold soba, so I might as well make this for today’s lunch! I need to start boiling water~~.

    • Sissi September 13, 2012 at 11:40 am #

      Dear Nami, thank you for so many compliments. I hope you will like these rolls!

  30. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles September 13, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    What a great choice for a guest post MJ! I love Sissi’s rolls (and spicy dipping sauces! ;-)) and what I admire most about her cooking style is her ability to deliver big taste without all the fuss…This recipe is a perfect example. Simple, healthful elegance achievable by all – my kind of eats!

    • Sissi September 13, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      (I’m blushing in silence…).

  31. Soni September 13, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    Love these spring rolls and love soba noodles!!Such an easy recipe!Lovely guestpost!!

    • Sissi September 13, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      Thank you so much, Soni.

  32. ping September 13, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Hi MJ. Great guest you have here. I’ve told Sissi before and I’m going to say it again …. Sissi is more Asian than I am! 🙂 I look to her when I need that inspiring idea for a Japanese or Korean dish and recently Sichuan…. and some of the most simple yet interesting cocktails
    These rolls are just another example of how creative she is. And you’re right! The recipes aren’t intimidating at all!

    • Sissi September 13, 2012 at 11:38 am #

      Haha! I have a Japanese friend who told me that if I carry on like this, I will end up with Asian eyes 😉 (I told her I wouldn’t mind slim, Japanese silhouette and beautiful thick, dark hair either!).

    • mj September 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      🙂 That’s funny because the first couple of times I visited Sissi’s blog I thought she was Asian! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Ping!

  33. Ramona September 13, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    These are some beautiful and healthy spring rolls. A definite keeper. Great guest post. 🙂

    • Sissi September 13, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      Thank you, Ramona.

  34. Giulietta | Alterkitchen September 13, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    You’re collecting a lot of different recipes while you’re without a kitchen.. every cloud has its silver lining, uh?! 🙂

    • mj September 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      Amen to that Darlin!

  35. Sissi September 13, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    Dear MJ, thank you for so many kind words and compliments. I’m extremely proud to be your guest today. Thank you once more for the invitation!

    • mj September 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      Well, you are most welcome Sissi! I meant ever word of it! I am so grateful to you and all of my friends for supporting me and sharing their fabulous creations in my kitchen (virtually 🙂 ).

  36. Choc Chip Uru September 13, 2012 at 1:16 am #

    Wow Sissi you outdo yourself with this gorgeous creation – it looks delicious 😀
    And my friend, I hope your kitchen comes back soon 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Sissi September 13, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      Thank you so much, Choc Chip Uru.

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