My love of noodles knows no-bounds, and I’m thrilled that my local supermarket is now carrying organic soba noodles in what they describe (this is their wording, not mine), the “oriental” aisle. I know. I know.
Non-politically correct aisle labeling aside, at least the mass-market mega-marts in suburbia are venturing to provide more interesting ingredients beyond chow mein noodles and cans of water chestnuts.
I make a pot of soba at least twice a week, and I’m constantly learning new and better ways to prepare them, mixing broths and playing with ingredients to add on (the new book by the owner of Ivan Ramen has been such a great tutorial…but more on that and my other favorite new cookbooks in the upcoming Devil & Egg Annual Holiday Gift Round-Up!).
If I’m keeping things simple then I just rinse the noodles after they’re done cooking (the dried variety only take about 4 minutes, the fresh even less), toss with a little sesame or grapeseed oil to keep them from sticking, and then add them to quick and dirty stir-fries for lunch or dinner. They’re so good with whatever is kicking around in the vegetable drawer: greens, cabbage, shredded carrots, roasted root vegetables or ripe avocado.
My other noodle-fixation are the fresh buckwheat and green tea noodles, which you can find at Asian supermarkets like H Mart.
I made this noodle stir-fry hodgepodge for lunch the other day which included baby bok choy (H Mart sells them in big bags, which seems like a lot, but it shrinks down when you cook it, just like spinach, and it is so good that I easily go through a bag in a few days), blanched broccoli (the broccoli in the supermarket has been looking so good lately that I’ve been buying several heads then blanching it in batches and keeping it in the fridge for adding to stir-fries, salads, and best of all: KEEPERS crustless broccoli quiche!), toasted sesame seeds, an egg, and the sauce–a vinaigrette made with red chili paste and some rice vinegar. For lunch it beats a tuna sandwich any day.
QUICK AND DIRTY SOBA NOODLE STIR-FRY
The first step is to heat a wok (or similar-type slanted-side pan) over high-heat and then add a couple of tablespoons of canola or peanut oil (basically an oil for high heat cooking). Add your greens (bok choy, spinach, mustard greens, broccolini) with some minced garlic and ginger (about 2 cloves of garlic and the same with the ginger, depending on how much you like) and continue to cook and stir for a minute until fragrant but nothing is burning (you can lower the heat to medium-high at this point if things are getting out of hand). In a measuring cup combine about 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil–then add to the vegetables.Â Bring everything to a simmer, continuing to toss and stir often for about a minute. Once the sauce has thickened and the vegetables have wilted, add the noodles and some toasted sesame seeds (you can do this ahead of time in a skillet, they will keep in a jar for a few days) and toss until the noodles are heated through. *If you want to add an egg you can do it in the same pan. I normally do it after adding the broth-mixture has thickened a bit but before adding the noodles. I lightly beat one egg with a teaspoon of soy sauce and then pour it down the side of the pan into the vegetables. Once it’s cooked through and just a bit runny, I toss with the vegetables and then add the noodles. Place the finished stir-fry into large bowl and if you’d like, garnish with chopped peanuts, cilantro leaves, sriracha, or a combination of Korean red chile paste and rice vinegar.