Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I think I'm Turning Japanese, I Really Think Soba

Last night I made a healthy Japanese-inspired meal that I think could become a staple. It's so easy, lightly flavored, but sooo filling! Make it at home and you'll see what I mean.

Japanese Soba with Steamed Veggies and Tofu (from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch)

You'll need some Asian flavors to make this meal, so this is a great chance to raid the "international" aisle of your local grocery store.

Start by whisking together 2 Tbs. mirin (Japanese rice wine), 1Tbs. minced fresh ginger (I omitted because my pregnant wife is currently spice-intolerant), 1 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari, and 1 Tbs. sesame oil in a big bowl. You'll toss this with your steamed veggies later, so put it aside for now.

Next, steam 1 eggplant cut into 1/4 in. cubes over some boiling water with 2 Tbs. of rice vinegar for 7 minutes. Throw in a carrot cut into matchsticks for another 7 minutes. Then toss in 8 oz. of extra firm tofu cut into 1/4 in. cubes for 3 minutes. When everything seems hot and tender (I'm talking about the vegetables here!), dump it all in the bowl with the sauce mixture and toss to coat.

At some point while your steaming away at your veggies, you've also got to boil some salted water and throw in an 8 oz. package of buckwheat soba noodles. I know it's multi-tasking, but you can do it...I believe in you! The goal is to have the soba noodles cooked (about 4-6 minutes) and the veggies hot at about the same time. Timing is everything in in soba.

Finally, strain the noodles, rinse them with cold water, and strain again. Then toss them back in the pot with 1 Tbs. of sesame oil so they don't stick together. Now you're ready to lay down a tasty layer of noodles in a pasta bowl and dump some of the veggie/tofu mix on top. As if that wasn't enough, let's get gourmet here by throwing a dash of sliced scallions and a splash of gomasio (seasoned sesame seeds) on top...WAA-TAAAA!!! (You MUST actually say that in your best Bruce Lee impression...even though he wasn't Japanese.)

Now, enjoy with a fine sake. Personally, I like the cold, unfiltered Nigori sakes, but I'm no stranger to the typical, warm Junmai sakes either. Take your pick and eat with a fork...or chopsticks!

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