Buckwheat is the pseudo-grain (actually a seed) most associated with Eastern European cooking, often found as kasha or in blinis. It's also the flour used in Japanese soba noodles. So why, WHY, is this killer salad from Terry Hope Romero's new vegan cookbook, Salad Samurai, the first place I've seen soba noodles married with Eastern European flavors? And why didn't I think of doing that myself??
'soba' on Serious Eats
Despite his dinnertime freedom, Mark Bittman doesn't launch into a carnivorous feast come six o'clock. Instead, he incorporates meat into meals that are equally heavy in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Take this soba noodle dish for example. While it doesn't shy away from meat (hello, pork shoulder), it does incorporate a generous amount of asparagus in addition to whole grain soba noodles.
Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat proclaim that this duck and soba dish in their new cookbook, Japanese Soul Cooking, is one of their favorites. What's not to like? Hot soba noodles are served in a warm dashi and soy broth with slivers of perfectly cooked duck breast and green onions fried in duck fat. A final dollop of wasabi is a key accent, brightening the flavor of the rich bird. Best of all, it's an impressive-looking dish that isn't much harder than boiling a pot of noodles.
If the pairing of tofu and meat seems incongruous to you, then you've probably missed out on many of the best dishes that Asian cuisines have to offer.
A fifteen minute meal with buckwheat noodles, seaweed, and shrimp.
As something of a seasoned peanut noodle slurper, I wanted my version to be spot on, and up to snuff. The sauce is a balance of salty, sharp, sweet and rich, and just hovering between liquid and paste for the perfect amount of "noodle cling". I threw in some easy pickled bean sprouts for kick (and crunch) and some simply seared tofu to make this a well-rounded lunch box. Just try not to slurp too loudly.
This vegetarian stock uses kombu, dried shiitakes, leeks, ginger, garlic, and soy to recreate the deep flavors of the decidedly un-veggie friendly inspiration.
This main-dish-salad is everything you want a summertime meal to be: flavorful, light and totally satisfying. Shredded roasted chicken and soba noodles are tossed in a punchy soy, ginger and peanut dressing, then brightened up with a colorful mix of red peppers, scallions and cilantro. Chopped peanuts and sesame seeds add welcome crunch.
I don't always have the best luck with cold soba. At its worst, the soba comes out gummy and water-logged. The key is to start with a very simple dish like this one. The soba is boiled, drained in a colander, then rinsed under cold water. Just make sure to let it drain again after the rinse—this solved most of my issues. Some sauteed shrimp or tofu would help bulk this out if you were really hungry, but it's absolutely perfect for those in need of a light summer meal.
A bowl of cold soba noodles are perfect hot weather eating, as we established yesterday. Mild and nutty, hearty and cooling all at once, we could really eat the noodles all summer long with no complaints. Heidi Swanson's version of soba from Super Natural Every Day dresses quick-cooked and quick-chilled buckwheat noodles with a nutty dressing of black sesame, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts sweetened with sugar and spiced with cayenne.
This particular plate, a cool starter or perfect spring lunch, marries ingredients that seemingly have nothing to do with one another, namely mango and eggplant. But when the eggplant is charred and mixed with the nutty soba noodles and the tangy dressing, the mango brings the dish together with its sweet bursts of fruitiness boosting the salty, sour qualities of the noodles.
Last fall, during the first bout of cold weather the season had to offer, Cara wrote about this Asian Noodle Soup. It was chicken-free and packed with good veggies—cabbage, carrot, peppers—and fresh cilantro. But should we call it Asian? That was a heated point of contention.
This recipe for bibim guksu from My Korean Kitchen is the perfect spring transition dish. The lettuce, cabbage, carrot, and cucumber all provide a cooling crunch. The sauce is bracing and spicy, but it's balanced with both honey and brown sugar, and the soba acts as a nice base for all these flavors. The result is a shock to all the senses, yet still oddly refreshing.
The ingredient list was short and concise, and yet I was detecting all these other flavors that I couldn't place. It wasn't spicy or sweet—the taste was more complex and haunting, almost like a smoky aroma. It was addicting to say the least, but where did it come from? The secret is the high heat.
[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,...
I picked this recipe from the Perfect Pantry mainly because of the sauce, which somehow manages to successfully combine soy sauce, hoisin, Sriracha, lime juice, and agave nectar. (I only stash the last one in my pantry for cocktails.) But...