Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Soba with Mushrooms and a Side of Bok Choy

[Photograph: Robin Belinger]

Shopping List

1 bunch baby bok choy: $2.00
12-ounce package soba noodles: $0.69
1 pound crimini mushrooms: $3.00
1 ear corn: $0.33
Knob of fresh ginger: $0.25
Cilantro (pro-rated): $0.50

Pantry items: Salt, peanut or olive oil, garlic, pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, sesame seeds (optional), chili garlic sauce (optional)

Total cost (for 3 to 4 portions): $7.67

This is one of my favorite no-thought-required dinners, just waiting to be plugged into a hole in my weekly meal plan if noodles have not already made an appearance. It isn't brilliant, but it is fast, filling, yummy, healthy, and cheap.

I am not under the impression that it's in any way authentic. Last week Chichi gave us much more detailed instructions for stir-fried bok choy. I happened to have corn from the farmers' market and thought the natural sweetness might be nice here, but in truth, I barely tasted it. I certainly wouldn't buy corn just to make this dish. Same with sesame seeds. A drizzle of sesame oil, however, should not be skipped.

The soba is inspired by Nigella Lawson, who recommends soba with reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms for dieters, and the greens are descended from a recipe in Nigel Slater's cookbook, Appetite. Where would I be without the two English N's? Not improvising tasty dinners on the fly, that's for sure.

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