Buckwheat soba are one of my favourite pantry staples – if I have them, and a few greens, I have a meal. Or I add poached chicken or raw salmon for a bit more protein. Here’s a recipe idea with which you can play round depending on what vegetables are in season/in you fridge. I just love the Korean red pepper paste gochujang in the dressing, but leave it out if you don’t like spicy. If you don’t have gochujang, use sriracha or a similar vinegary chilli sauce.
- Soak wood-ear fungus for 30 minutes to rehydrate. You could use shiitake mushrooms intsead.
- Poach chicken breasts in simmering water for approx 15 minutes, until cooked through but still moist, with star anise, fresh ginger, soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine added for flavour. Once cooked, slice thickly.
- Stir fry garlic, zucchini ribbons, bean sprouts and sliced water chestnuts briefly – 5 minutes or so – with a little soy sauce and Shaoxing rice wine.
- Cook soba in boiling water for 4 minutes then refresh with cold water and drain well. – Mix a dressing with sesame oil, gochujang, rice vinegar (or Chinese black vinegar), toasted sesame seeds.
- Plate up with soba noodles topped with vegetables then chicken slices, drizzled with sesame dressing.
Great served with kimchi – or some other East Asian-style pickle – on the side. I’m writing a piece about kimchi for a magazine at the moment, and will post it here in a few months’ time also. Kimchi, being lacto-fermented, like yoghurt, is totally one of the best things you can eat for your digestive system, and is darn tasty to boot.