At this time of year, it's nice to take a break from the constant stream of unhealthy (but supremely delicious) holiday edibles and eat something that makes you feel good afterwards. I've had my share of Christmastime binges in the past where I honestly felt as if my main food group was...well...cookies. Speaking of, if you're still looking for some cookie recipes, check out the index at the top of the page. I've got a bunch of my favorites on there.
This recipe is the perfect antidote to the December madness. Green tea soba noodles with their moss-tinged earthiness are fantastic steeped in a highly flavorful broth that's been infused with notes of orange, chile and ginger. It's comforting and healthy all at once and makes for a substantial meal when topped with shrimp, silken tofu and some crisp broccolini.
Don't be put off by the long ingredients list. The first eight are for the broth which doesn't take much effort - it will be simmering in no time. The last three ingredients are garnishes which I don't recommend skipping. A generous squeeze of lemon juice amplifies the other flavors while the toasty sesame seeds and oil provide an appealing nuttiness.
If the broth is made in advance and the other ingredients are prepped, this can be a quick weeknight dinner.
For 4 servings:
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup shao sing (Chinese wine) or sake
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 3 scallions sliced into 3-inch lengths
- A 4-inch slice of orange rind with no or very little pith attached
- 5 thin slices of peeled fresh ginger
- 1-2 Thai chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 7 ounces (200 grams) green tea soba noodles (cha soba)
- 1 bunch brocollini
- 12 large cooked shrimp
- 3.5 ounces (100 grams) firm silken tofu, cubed
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
Meanwhile, cook the soba according to package directions. Blanch the broccolini in boiling salted water until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
To assemble: divide the soba amongst 4 bowls. Pour a 1/2 cup of the broth over the noodles. Place the broccolini, shrimp and tofu in each bowl. Garnish with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, and a teaspoon of the sesame oil. Serve additional broth on the side to add to the noodles if desired.
Adapted, a whole lot, from On-the-Fly Noodles with Shrimp in the Best American Recipes 2000 book.