Monday, March 31, 2008

It’s Soba time

Sundays are either eventful when I am cooking up a storm or lethargic as I am glued to the TV or web surfing. Yesterday was a busy Sunday. I started the day with my breakfast of champions, homemade granola (recipe coming soon) and milk, revised my shopping list and headed out on a shopping spree. I started at Trader Joe’s, which was busy but still manageable. Sometimes it's so crammed I get fed up and leave half way into my grocery shopping. I used to love going in there to browse and I am sad they found my little gem. Damn the TJ’s PR people! After getting most things, I headed to another grocer. There I bought pineapple, avocado, Cape Cod chips (the kettle cooked kind)- for Tuna Noodle casserole, carrots and soba noodles.

An odd combination of things, right? I used Soba and carrots for dinner that night. I love carbohydrates and when they come in a form of Japanese noodles, I love them even more. I usually make soba noodles one way, stir fried with vegetables, the only way I like them. When I recently visited a friend, she served soba noodles in a soup; it was gingery and tasty. After that meal I decided I like the noodles as a main dish, with vegetables better than in a soup.

Last night’s dinner was quick and simple. Protein can be added for a heartier version.

Soba Noodles with your favorite vegetables and protein, optional

6 ounce dried Soba Noodles
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 inch ginger, minced
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Rice wine, Mirin
1 tsp Sesame oil
Red chili flakes
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
6 ounce fresh spinach or 4 ounce frozen spinach, defrosted
Sesame seeds, toasted

Cook noodles according to package directions. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add noodles and let the water come to rolling boil. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, turn down heat and simmer 2-3 minutes. Reserve some cooked noodle liquid, drain and rinse with cold water.

While waiting for water to boil, sauté onions in vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes in a medium pan, until onions have a brownish color on them. Add garlic and ginger and cook 30 – 60 seconds. (If using, this is the time to add extra-firm tofu or chicken breast. For chicken, add to the pan, and add enough broth to cover half of the chicken in liquid. Cover and cook until chicken is almost done.) Add soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and red chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add carrots and spinach to the pan and mix. Finally, add cooked noodles and stir everything together. If it’s too dry, add the reserved liquid. Season with toasted sesame seeds and serve warm. Contrary to popular belief, soba noodles can be served warm.

Other vegetables that make a great apperance in this dish are eggplant, bok choy, shitake mushrooms, and broccoli.


Mallika said...

Sounds lovely... I love Soba. Sometimes I just open a sachet of miso soup into the broth too. Never tried eggplant though... thx for the tip!

liberal foodie said...

mallika- you're welcome. Try japanese eggplants with the noodles, that makes it brighter and tasty.