Turmeric-Ginger Soba Noodles
For the sake of sakura
It’s the time of year that always brings back memories of our trip to Japan during Sakura (cherry blossom) season a few years ago. We visited Kyoto and then stayed in Tokyo for a week, taking in these ethereal blossoms at every chance we got.
There is much to say about Japan and impossible to do justice in this recipe post, so I will focus on food. Our favorite spot for ramen was T’s Tantan, a little vegan ramen shop nestled in the labyrinth that is the Tokyo station - we lost our way a few times getting there but it was worth it. Local vegetarian food can be hard to come by. But be that as it may, the culture of perfection that permeates the Japanese people ensures that when you eat a pizza in Japan, it is just as good as in Italy. The chocolate is the most exquisite. The cocktails are the most expert cocktails you ever had.
But I digress. This post is about Soba noodles. Soba, or buckwheat is a seed that is used similar to whole grains in cooking. While it is having quite the moment in the western world, the Japanese have been eating noodles made of it for centuries. It is naturally gluten-free, like quinoa, and rich in complex carbs, protein and fiber, making it a rare lowish-glycemic choice for noodles. 100% buckwheat noodles can be hard to find - try health food stores or online. Often it is combined with wheat in order to make it more stable. It can be tricky to cook - always stir so that the noodles don’t clump together and rinse with cold water when done.
This rainbow noodle dish is perfect for transient weather in the spring or fall. The flavoring is mellow, however the ginger and pepper are sure wake up your palate.
Turmeric-Ginger Soba Noodles (Download recipe card here)
1 tbsp light sweet miso
1 tbsp tamari (sub 2 tbsp soy sauce)
1 tbsp rice vinegar or white vinegar
⅓ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp cracked black pepper
1 ½ tbsp toasted sesame oil
4-5 medium scallions, sliced and separated into white and green parts
2 tbsp finely chopped or grated ginger
1 tbsp thinly sliced garlic
1 heaped cup [100g] shredded purple cabbage
1 large [70g] carrot(s), sliced into matchsticks
5 oz [140g] baby bok choy leaves, or other greens
2 tbsp sesame seeds
4 oz [112g] soba (buckwheat) noodles
salt, to taste
Step 1. In a small bowl, mix together the miso, tamari, vinegar, turmeric and pepper until smooth.
Step 2. Heat a medium sauté pan (for which you have a lid) over medium-low heat. When hot, add oil and white part of scallions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute or until aromatic. Add the sauce mixture from step 1 and mix, stirring, to combine. Add the cabbage and carrots and toss to mix. Cover and cook for a 1-2 minutes - vegetable should be lightly cooked but still crunchy. Add the baby bok choy leaves and a few drops of water. Toss and cook for 1-2 minutes or until just wilted. Add sesame seeds and mix. Turn off the stove or set aside.
Step 3. Fill a medium saucepan about two-thirds to the top with water and bring to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook, stirring often with a large fork to avoid clumps, for 4-5 minutes. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water.
Step 4. Return the sauté pan to the stove on low heat. Add the soba noodles and toss to combine. Add salt to taste and cook until heated throughout.
Garnish with green part of scallions and serve
This recipe moves fast, so gather all ingredients together before starting!
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