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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spicy Soba Noodles with Shitakes and Cabbage

When Amir was just a bit smaller, he loved mushrooms. I would occasionally broil marinated portabella mushroom caps and he'd eat a large one by himself. Lately, he's not into them. I suspect it's because of the meat-lover he's turned into; he can tell the difference between a piece of steak and a piece of mushroom, no problem.

It's too bad because mushrooms do provide such a tasty meat alternative. I continue to cook them, hoping that one day he'll change his mind back to the mushroom persuasion. In the meantime, I figured this recipe, from the August 2007 Gourmet, was a safe bet because of the noodles. Like most kids, he loves pasta.

Spicy Soba Noodles with Shitakes and Cabbage

For sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 to 3 tsp Korean hot-pepper paste
1 tbsp packed brown sugar

For noodles
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp finely chopped peeled ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
10 oz fresh shitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 1/4 lb Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (8 cups)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
8 to 9 oz soba
1 cup frozen shelled edamame

1. Stir together all sauce ingredients until brown sugar is dissolved, then set aside.

2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté ginger and garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shitakes and sauté, stirring frequently, until tender and starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, then add cabbage and most of the scallions (reserve about a tablespoon for garnish) and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is crisp tender, about 6 minutes. Add sauce and simmer 2 minutes.

3. While cabbage is cooking, cook soba and edamame together in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until noodles are just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cool water to stop cooking and remove excess starch, then drain well. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with sesame seeds and vegetable mixture. Serve sprinkled with reserved scallions.

The Verdict: This is a busy little dish. The different tastes and textures produce a fragrant, tasty and easy to prepare recipe.

When shopping, I found one package 6 ounce package of shitakes that looked good. The only other one was questionable. So instead, I used 6 ounces of shitakes and 6 ounces of white button mushrooms. The taste is a little different, but I love all mushrooms. Also, I couldn't for the life of me find my Sriracha sauce, which I've used previously when making this. (It was one of those moments of cooking when you check the same cabinet no less than eight times, figuring one of the times you open it, it will appear.) So I skipped the hot which ended up being OK as the ginger gives it the spicy kick it needs.

Amir, as predicted, wasn't interested in anything but the noodles. Stay tuned; I think I'm going to start sneaking vegetables in my recipes.

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