I whipped this up in no more than 15 minutes for dinner tonight. It was one of those evenings: function after work (Lewisham Awards finalists announcements – congrats to all and well done) then schlep through thick traffic to pick up the kids who were, as one would expect at 6pm, very ready for a feed.
Of course I hadn’t defrosted the chicken stock I had made just days earlier, so I made an instant but really flavoursome broth instead. This makes about 4 decent servings:
In a large pot, heat 3 cups or so of water. Add 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp white pepper a generous dash of soy sauce and a little less of Chinese black vinegar, 2 cloves garlic, chopped. Bring to the boil then lower in 400g chicken breast (whole). Turn down to a steady simmer and let chicken poach for 10 minutes. In the meantime slice 1 zucchini, 2 large field mushrooms. Throw the veges in to the broth to cook. Using tongs, pluck out the almost-cooked chicken breast (it’s been in for 10 mins now) and pop on chopping board. Now throw in 3 bundles of buckwheat soba. Slice chicken (will still be pink in the centre) before returning to broth. Cook for another 2-3 minutes till cooked through and soba are al dente. Ladle broth into bowls and use tongs to make sure each bowl has a good amount of noodles, chicken and veges. Add a wad of baby spinach leaves to each bowl, and some finely sliced red chilli. Drizzle over some sesame oil and serve.
You can tell this is a “make with what you got” recipe. Use whatever suitable veges you have kicking around. Oyster mushrooms would be superior to field here, and Asian greens like bok choi would of course work well, as would a garnish of bean sprouts.
Because you’re cooking the chicken and the starchy soba in the broth that you’re going to serve, you’re going to get a little scum round the edges of the pot. It won’t hurt you.