I won a packet of cha (green tea) soba noodles recently. It was a lucky draw, you see, and I won a hamper of food stuff which included the packet or soba noodles. Soba or buckwheat noodles are often eaten cold: the noodles, once cooked, are rinsed under cold water. The cold noodles are eaten with a dipping sauce and often, wasabi.
Our hot weather is the ideal impetus for a plate of cold soba. But I don’t fancy cold noodles. They have to be a little warm, at least. Besides, since I don’t usually cook Japanese dishes, I didn’t have the requisite ingredients for the dipping sauce: no dashi, no mirin, no Japanese soy sauce, no bonito flakes. I didn’t want to go out and buy them: they’re quite costly and since I don’t them use them often enough, it would be foolish. I could give the noodles to friends who do cook Japanese food often but I was curious and wanted to play with my noodles.
So, I decided to use the soba as I would pasta (purists, turn away now) and tossed it with garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese and garnished with a mushroom and scallion tapenade. How un-Japanese is that, eh?
It tasted good though. Soba noodles are really quite thin, kinda like angel hair pasta. They’re usually brown but the one I used was green tea+buckwheat so they were moss-green. I have to say they have a more distinct taste than pasta, a little nutty perhaps and it added flavour to my dinner.
Soba, my way
3/4 fresh shiitake mushroom, chopped fine
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Boil a pot of water and slide in the soba noodles and cook them for about 6 mins (or as specified in the packet). Drain, set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the chopped mushrooms and scallions and cook till soft, about 5 mins. Add the noodles and sprinkle the garlic powder and toss. Remove from heat.
Toss the parmesan in and serve. Garnish with a little more parmesan. Eat.