Here we have a delicious 10 minute meal. 5 minutes chopping, 5 minutes cooking and it won’t last long in the bowl either. So simple, yet tastes so amazing and dare I say it, complex. You have to love that!
Nothing says British winter more than a bowl of Soba Noodle Broth….or is that just me! I love a noodle broth anytime of the year and this one is wonder, putting the years first brussels sprout to good use. I could eat this by the bucket full, bowls just aren’t big enough.
The first winter chills are definitely visiting the Snowdonia hills at the moment, the winds blows a gale and we’ve kissed goodbye to what was a lovely summer of warmth and light nights. Sitting in the garden at 10pm in the sun is surely a thing all Britons cherish.
As are brussels sprouts. They’re like little cabbage hand grenades and add a punch to all they grace, we love ’em! So, so, so very wasted on your average Sunday Roast (traditional British Sunday Lunch containing roast meats and unfortunately over cooked vegetables), boiled to death and flaccid. A quick blanch in this broth and they are a revelation of crunchy texture and potent flavour.
This is an ‘Asian’ broth, which I know covers a large chunk of global cuisine. Its a hybrid of flavours that meld and work. Some Japanese, some Chinese, but all super tasty.
In the Beach House we condone slurping in all its forms. Food should be eaten with gusto and vigour, slurping is an essential part of the noodle broth experience. We like to attack a bowl of noodle broth armed with a large spoon and some chopsticks, on occasion we resemble koi carp, such is our commitment to the cause. Jane is a particularly good slurper, we put it down to being raised with a koi carp named bonehead. Bonehead still lives with Jane’s Mum and Dad and is a big fish in a small pond. He can also be stroked like a dog.
This type of broth is best served piping hot, with all ingredients cooked for the minimum length of time. Freshness and crunch is imperative. The gulping and slurping actually helps the noodles cool down on the way to the mouth. At least that’s our excuse! It also happens to be alot of fun.
We’ve added plenty of colour here, essential in these gradually greying months, by using the last of the years red peppers and some brazen red cabbage. This broth is also nice and warming, fresh ginger and Chinese five spice take care of this. For even more of a restorative slurp, I added some wasabi to mine which really got my juices flowing.
Soba noodles are always a highlight, soba meaning ‘buckwheat’ in Japanese, the noodle choice of most Tokyo-ites. Traditionally in Japan buckwheat can be harvested four times a year, a wonder crop for sure.
Soba Noodles have a lovely bite to them, a hearty noodle ideal for my rapidly diminishing wheat intake as they are made with a large amount of buckwheat (not a wheat even though it is called a wheat!?) This means less gluten all around. For some bizarre reason, soba noodles are normally a tad more expensive than your average joe noodle, but they’re well worth the extra pennies.
We use tamari because we prefer the flavour, it contains no wheat and is always made to a certain standard. Meaning no strangeness and dodgy health issues with the soya used.
There are alot of ingredients in the broth here, really, some good stock, ginger and a splash of tamari will suffice, the other ingredients just make it extra special. Most of them can be found in any decent Chinese-style food store.
As can the Hazelnut Tofu. It’s basically tofu mixed with hazelnuts, and a few toasted sesame seeds, pressed back together. It is delicious and has plenty of flavour, unlike normal tofu. It seems to be springing up in some supermarkets, but as with most of these niche veggie/ vegan bits, a health food shop is your best bet.
Makes two massive bowlfuls (or four medium sized):
300g soba noodles, 125g hazelnut tofu (chopped into little cubes), 1/4 red cabbage (finely shredded), 1 red pepper (finely chopped), 6 brussel sprouts (finely sliced lengthways)
For the broth – 1 inch fresh ginger (minced), 2 teas chinkiang vinegar (balsamic will do), 2 tbs tamari (soya sauce is a close sub), 1 tbs rice wine (or dry sherry), 1 tbs good stock powder (or fresh if you are brilliant) – to taste, 1/2 teas Chinese five spice, 1.5 ltr boiling water
Taste the stock, make it right for you.
Wasabi stirred in to taste (if you like things spicy)
Topping – 2 spring onions (finely sliced)
Boil a kettle with enough water.
Chop your vegetables thinly.
Add boiled water to a large, warm sauce pan and get a steady boil going. Bubblin’.
Add all of your stock ingredients in no particular order, give it a stir (no stock powder lumps, they are the enemy).
Now add your cabbage, brussels sprout and peppers, boil for two minutes, then add your tofu and noodles, simmer for a further two-three minutes and prepare to serve.
By the time you’ve got bowls and ladles and all that jazz together, your noodles should be cooked nicely. Overcooking soba noodles is a huge sin.
Piping hot and topped with a handful of sliced spring onions. If you have a small flask of warm sake available, well done! Have extra tamari, wasabi and vinegar on the table so people can play with the flavouring or their stock.
We Love It!
Soul slurping of the highest order and buckwheat noodles to boot. Lucky us. So quick and satisfying, we could eat this for dinner every night! A soulful soup of the highest order.
Buckwheat is high in Thiamine and soba noodles were regularly eaten by wealthy Japanese folk to balance their large intake of white rice (very low thaimine) thus avoiding what was called ‘beri beri’.
As we all know by now, buckwheat is a relative of rhubarb! A berry and not a grain, a wonderful gluten-free substitute. Buckwheat is full of flavanoids which are very good for the cardiovascular system. In fact, some folk say that buckwheat is better for you than any fruit or vegetable. Quite a claim!