Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sesame-Honey Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are Japanese noodles made (entirely or partially) from buckwheat. I find that they have a wonderfully satisfying earthy flavor that pairs especially well with sesame. However, if you find the buckwheat flavor too dominant, or if you just have a hard time finding these noodles, you can use any other Asian noodle you like.

You can make this recipe with any vegetables you like. I wrote the ones I used, but you can make it with other veggies or even with nothing except the sauce and some chopped green onions.  You can also use tofu, seitan or eggs as the protein, or even just serve this is as a side dish with no protein.

A note for the gluten free: buckwheat is gluten free. However, most brands of soba noodles contain a mixture of buckwheat and wheat flour, and even some brands that are 100% buckwheat are processed on the same equipment as wheat. I used this brand, which is gluten free, but just be careful which brand you use.

Sesame-Honey Soba Noodles


Ingredients (for 2 generous portions or 3-4 smaller ones): 

- 1 package (8.8 oz, about 250 grams) uncooked soba noodles 
- stir fry vegetables of your choice. I used: 1/2 red onion, sliced; 1 bell pepper, sliced. 3 cloves of garlic, minced; a handful of snow peas, sliced. a handful of fresh baby corn, sliced. 
- 1-2 tbsp canola oil 
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds
- 150 grams tofu, seitan or omelet, cut into strips

For the Sauce: 
- 1/3 cup honey 
- 1 jalapeno pepper or other hot pepper, sliced
- 1 handful cilantro 
- 1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari 
- 2-3 tbsp sesame oil 


1) Toast the sesame seeds: place a small frying pan over medium-high heat, add the sesame seeds and cook, stirring, until they are golden. Set aside. 
2) Cook the soba noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain and wash with cold water to prevent sticking. 

3) Prepare the sauce: in a blender or food processor combine all of the sauce ingredients. If you like your sauce with a kick, leave the pepper as is. If you prefer a milder flavor, remove all or part of the seeds and "ribs" of the pepper before mixing it. Process to a fairly smooth sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water to reach the desired consistency. 

4) Heat the oil in a large wok or pan. Add the tofu/seitan (if you are using eggs, add them at the end rather than now) and fry for a few minutes, while stirring, to color. Add the vegetables and stir fry for a few more minutes until they are just softened but still crisp. Add the noodles and stir to distribute the veggies among the noodles. Add the sauce and sesame seeds and continue stir frying until the noodles are heated through. Serve. 


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