Sunday, April 13, 2008

Soba Noodle Bowls

I had a couple packages of soba noodles in different colors, and I thought it would be a good idea to cook them up in a ginger-citrus broth, with a lot of mushrooms and and bitter greens.  I sauteed scallions with garlic and ginger, shiitake and oyster mushrooms.  Then I tossed in a big bunch of broccoli rabe, and let it simmer in a mixture of wine, lime juice, and vegetable broth.  Everything went as planned, the noodles finished cooking right when the vegetables got tender, and in under half an hour I beautiful looking dinner.  Then I took the first bite, and disaster.  Everything was wrong:  too much ginger, too much lime, too much liquid overall, the mushrooms shrank down to nothing, and the bitterness of the broccoli rabe overpowered the rest of the dish.

Still the basic idea was a good one, so a week later, I tried again.  This time I used spinach in place of the broccoli rabe, subbed in portobellos for half the shiitakes, and changed all the proportions in the broth.  And this time the result was an actual, edible meal.  Recipe below:


• Soba Noodles (8 oz)
• 10 oz spinach, coarsely chopped
• 2 cups mushrooms (potobello/shitake) chopped
• 5 scallions, chopped
• ½ inch piece of ginger, minced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• Juice of half a lime
• 2 tbs soy sauce
• ½ cup of wine
• 2 tbs peanut oil

Cook the soba noodles according to package directions.

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Sauté the scallions until tender. Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté until lightly browned and aromatic. Add the lime juice, soy sauce, and mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms are tender. Add the wine and spinach, cover the pot, and steam until the spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally.

Toss the noodles with the vegetable mixture, and serve with hot sauce (Vietnamese chili garlic sauce) and lime wedges.

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