Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Soba Good for You

Soba noodles-- Yum. They are Japanese noodles made from buckwheat flour. They are hearty and chewy and healthy and absolutely delicious in a flavorful miso broth! They are so healthy, in fact, that you actually lose weight and gain muscle mass when you eat a bowl. In a week you will look like Raquel Welch circa 1965 (boobs optional).

This dish prooved to be a favorite with all six of us. A highly irregular occurrance. Everyone loved the soba noodles, especially after I told them that slurping was not only acceptable, but common etiquette if they were eating these in Japan. So slurp we all did.
This is also a nice recipe because you can put in it exactly what you like; fish, pork, chicken, just vegetables, tofu.. or a combination. It can be as carnivorous or vegan as you please.

Soba Soup

For the broth

5 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
2 heaping tablespoons white miso paste

1 tablepoon soy sauce
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into quarters
3 plump garlic cloves, smashed and peeled, not chopped
Shiitake mushroom stems (if you are using shiitakes in the soup)
2 teaspoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

4 bundles Soba noodles

To garnish the soup (choose as many or as few as you like)

Sliced shiitake mushrooms
cubed firm tofu
bok choi (pak choi) sliced thin
cubed fresh salmon
cooked, shredded pork
cooked, shredded chicken
sliced mange tout (sugar snap peas)
shredded carrots
sliced green onions

1) Get all of the soup ingredients (except the soba noodles) into a large soup pot. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
2) While the soup broth is simmering, cook the soba noodles in boiling water for about 6-7 minutes (or according to package directions). They should be al dente. When they are done cooking, drain well and rinse with cold water. Drain again and set aside.

3) Remove the chucks of ginger and garlic from the broth and discard. Add in any raw ingredients you are using to the broth (salmon, shiitakes, carrots, mange tout, pak choi). Bring back to a simmer and cook until just done (a few minutes).

4) When you are ready to serve: Place a mound of noodles in the bottom of individual, deep soup bowls. Pour the broth and garnishes over the noodles and serve with a sprinkling of sliced green onions.

Serves 6

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