I love soba–the buckwheat-based, spaghetti-like noodles served both hot and cold in Japan. There are many, many ways to dress them for a salad but the flavors usually skew Asian. I wanted to try a different direction, so I looked to where buckwheat is popular–Russia. Flavors in Russia itself can be a bit austere, but its neighbor, Georgia, is known for incredible food. Georgians love lots of garlic, onion, cilantro and chiles along with lots of Middle Eastern type spices as well as walnuts (yep, everything in Georgia seems to come back to walnuts). Buckwheat noodles love a good peanut sauce, so why not a spiced walnut one?
The first time I made this dish, it really proved how recipe development is so different from actual cooking. If I were just left to cook–adding a little of this and a little of that, I would have had something delicious on the first try. But with the formal process of development, I started with a plan that, at first, yielded a bland, bland sauce. So then, I added a bunch of ingredients to make it edible, but by that point, there was too much sauce and too few noodles and I lost track of all that I did. -Sigh.-