What to say about Soba noodles other than Sugoi (“Fantastic” in Japanese (with no relevance to the brand of 2 minute noodles available from your friendly Aussie supermarket aisle). Soba which translates to buckwheat in its place of origin – Japan, is one of their many fast food delicacies, especially popular on the streets of Tokyo. Soba has good nutritional value with the noodles containing essential amino acids, antioxidants and nutrients that are classified as generally good for you. It is any wonder that Soba gets its approval and appreciation in a country where the dining regularly focuses on good healthy choices and clean flavours in chic style on a plate…or bowl.
My foray into Soba was only recent, and I was drawn to the sophisticated packaging of the bundled noodles with its paper band displaying the house of manufacture. These short and thin noodles are all uniform in length and have a definitive elegance about them, so cooking with this ingredient gives you that feeling of using something quite special. As you would expect Soba has a less heavier effect on you than you would get from eating a plate of say, egg noodles (even though I would not knock back a plate!!!).
In Japanese cuisine Soba is served in a variety of cold dishes as well as hot ones, ranging from salads to soups. I have strayed a little away from the traditional in this recipe however as I was just experimenting with some tastes that I felt just fit together perfectly. The result is more or less a fusion dish that lends it flavour a little from the Chinese, Korean and Japanese styling in what appears to be a cross between a warm salad and a stir fry. Enough said! Here’s the recipe.
Ingredients, to serve 5
3 bundles x Soba noodles
25g x Chinese Dried Mushroom, soaked in ½ cup Water
500g x Ground Pork
3-4 Spring Onions, sliced thinly
5 tbsp XO Sauce
2 x Carrots, julienned
3 x Lap Cheong (Chinese Sausage), cut into strips
½ tsp Sesame oil
Fried Shallots, to garnish
Cook for 3-4 minutes until tender then drain
In a hot wok add the oil and then the spring onions
Stir fry for a few seconds then add the pork and lap cheong
Brown the pork frying it until most of the water has dried up
Now stir in the XO Sauce and combine with the meats
Add the carrot and rehydrated mushroom
Pour in ½ the reserved mushroom soaking liquid
Cook for an additional 5 minutes
Drizzle the sesame oil and stir through
Garnish with store bought fried shallots
This dish really hits home high on the flavour scale and is fully adaptable for other noodles types, additions of chilli and even crushed peanuts for the garnish. The taste really is quite a mix of the different cuisines but it really just works for me – I hope it does for you too….Enjoy!!