I just LOVE soba noodles and Asian flavors. I think I have some other recipes on this blog for soba noodle salads, but this is another variation and is a very quick meal to make

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 oz dried shitake mushrooms
3/4 lb buckwheat (soba) noodles
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 Japanese eggplants, cut into very thin strips
2 carrots, julienned
10 scallions, cut diagonally
6 fresh shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Soak the dried shitake mushrooms in 1/2 cup hot water for 10 minutes.
Drain, reserving the liquid.
Discard the woody stems and finely slice the caps.

Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender.
Rinse under cold water, then toss with 1 tsp of the sesame oil.

Combine the tahini, light and dark soy sauces, honey, lemon juice, 2 tbsp of the reserved mushrom liquid and the remaining sesame oil in a food processor until smooth.

Heat 2 tbsp peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, turning often, for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft and golden.
Drain on paper towels.

Heat the remaining oil.
Add the carrots, scallions and fresh and dried mushrooms.
Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until just softened.
Remove from the heat and toss with the noodles, eggplant and dressing.

Garnish with the cilantro and sesame seeds