One of my favorite hobbies is to look around supermarket aisles curious about the variety of food products that are out there. I make it a point to get something that is new to me - it may be a type of pasta or a bottle of exotic sauce or herbs. I normally buy new ones in smaller quantities as I run the risk of it being shunned by the husband and daughter resulting in me eating the entire thing. (which may or may not be a good deal depending on how the dish turns out!).
There are a lot of things (the good ones) that I have discovered recently which are now regulars in my pantry. For example Tomatoes - pureed and chopped in a can .I used to balk at that idea before. Why go for canned when you have fresh tomatoes ? But some recipes do require it and no amount of boiling and grinding may sometimes replace opening a can of tomato puree. Vietnamese Rice Paper - I know the name sounds a bit off. But trust me this is one keeper. (recipe coming soon!), Peanut butter, Nutella, dried parsley, pasta sauces. the list keeps getting longer with every supermarket visit.
One such discovery is the Japanese Soba noodles. I have heard my SIL who lives there talk about it. So was eager to try it and when I found a small packet, I immediately got it home. I have no clue on what the brand name is as it is in Japanese.
Soba Noodles is one of the most popular noodles and staple foods in Japan. Its made of buckwheat (soba means buckwheat in Japanese) - a healthy grain. Soba noodles are served cold with just soy sauce or as a salad or hot in a bowl of soup.
We do not enjoy cold noodles at home so that was ruled out. I made it for lunch one day and used my usual vegetable noodles recipe for it.
The noodles by itself has a pleasant and wholesome taste and flavor. It would work out well for a cold salad as well. May be the next time I will make it into a salad.
This is a simple recipe and if you do not get Japanese soba noodles, substitute for normal noodles (not the instant variety) or egg noodles.
SPICY JAPANESE SOBA NOODLES WITH VEGETABLES
1 packet Japanese Soba Noodles
1/2 cup Bean Sprouts (optional)
2 - 3 Spring onions
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp finely shredded ginger
3 red chillies or 3 sliced green chillies
1 tsp Soy sauce
1 tsp Green chilli sauce (optional)
1 T sesame oil (or gingelly oil)
Salt to taste
1. Boil a big pot of water. Add salt and the raw noodles and cook until the noodles are soft. Drain, wash in cold water and spread on a large plate. You can mix some oil if you think the noodles might stick together.
2.Heat oil in a wok or a pan until high heat.
3. Add the chillis, ginger and garlic until the flavors are added to the oil.
4. Add the cabbage, carrots and capsicum along with the spring onion whites. Fry until the raw smell goes but the vegetables should remain crunchy. (The high heat helps with this). Add the bean sprouts and mix well.
5. Add the soy sauce and green chilli sauce (if using) and mix well. Add the salt. (Remember that the soy sauce is also salty. So add just a bit for the vegetables.)
6. Toss in the noodles and mix well. Garnish with spring onion greens.
7. Serve hot or cold.
- If making with normal noodles, you can also add some vinegar and pepper while cooking the vegetables.
- For the non-vegetarians, you can add shredded omlette or pre-cooked chicken finely shredded.
- I had some leftover and I chilled it in the refrigerator for a cold salad next day.
- Any excess cooked noodles can be used in any clear soups.