Serious Eats: Recipes

Michael Natkin's Soba Noodles in Shiitake-Shoyu Broth with Spring Vegetables

[Photograph: Michael Natkin]

With a repertoire of vegetarian recipes like Herbivoracious, author Michael Natkin is rarely envious of omnivores. But when it comes to Asian noodle soup, there is a slight twinge of jealously.

Instead of living without glorious bowls of umami-rich noodle soups, Natkin has crafted a vegetarian stock that uses kombu, dried shiitakes, leeks, ginger, garlic, and soy to recreate the deep flavors of the decidedly un-veggie friendly inspiration. Natkin takes this mushroomy broth and loads it up with springy asparagus and leeks, an eight-minute egg, nutty buckwheat soba noodles, and cubes of mild soft tofu. Finished off with a a drizzle of sesame oil and sliced scallion, this is a bowl of soup that satisfies with flavors both fresh and deep and all manner of complementary textures.

What Worked: Many soba recipes call for a meat or seafood based stock, Natkin has cleverly composed a vegan variation that possess all of the umami-rich qualities of its meatier counterpart. And completing the dish with springy asparagus and leeks? Kudos, sir.

What Didn't: No complaints from herbivores or omnivores on this noodle soup.

Suggested Tweaks: Feel free to use Natkin's broth in any other Japanese noodle soup recipe such as ramen, somen or udon.

Reprinted with permission from Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin. Copyright © 2012. Published by Harvard Common Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

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