Happy Friday! For a tasty weeknight dinner, try this flavour-packed noodle bowl. Pick up some soba (buckwheat) noodles and stock up on greens at the farmers’ market this weekend, or make the most of the greens in your garden before the frost hits. Tatsoi, bok choi, chard or kale would all be great additions and cilantro is still in season. For protein, you can use extra firm tofu, chicken breasts or leftover roast chicken or pork. You can easily find gluten free soba noodles, such as the King Soba brand used here.
Our fridges can fill up fast when we purchase every bottle of sauce that’s recommended to us, so it’s good to be able to make some sauces, like Hoisin sauce, from scratch using pantry ingredients; it also gives you some creative license to adjust some of the ingredients to your taste, and to keep the sodium levels down if that is a concern.
When you do buy a pre-made sauce, it is worth checking the ingredients list. In Oyster sauce for example, although it is often recommended, you will generally find artificial colours and hydrogenated soybean oil, so it’s often best to make these heavily-processed sauces from scratch.
If you like Asian food, then having some basic ingredients on hand is well worth it; I recommend small bottles of sesame oil and fish sauce, as you only ever need a small amount in any given recipe (and they need to be kept in the fridge), rice wine vinegar, and organic tamari soy sauce.
Saucy Soba Noodle Bowl
Serves 3 as a main course
- 4 cups finely chopped red cabbage (about ¼ of a medium-large cabbage)
- One to two of these greens: tatsoi, kale (de-ribbed and cut into ribbons), bok choi or pak choi cut, broccoli florets, or spinach
- 1 block extra-firm tofu or shredded chicken from 1.5 to 2 chicken breasts
- 250g buckwheat noodles
- Cilantro leaves for serving
- 2 limes for lime wedges
- crushed peanuts or sesame seeds for serving
For the Gingery Hoisin Sauce:
3 large or 5 small garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 inches peeled and finely chopped ginger, or frozen ginger- unpeeled and finely grated
4 tsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp unsweetened peanut butter (if using sweetened then omit the honey)
4 Tbsp light soy sauce (organic Tamari is great)
2 pinches of cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a large pot, bring 3 litres of water to a boil, then add the noodles and bring the water back to a boil. Half fill a large bowl with cold water for rinsing the noodles.
- Follow package directions for the cooking time, then strain the noodles and immediately place them in the bowl of cold water. Wash the noodles to remove some of the starch and to prevent them from sticking, then drain.
- Heat 1 tsp coconut oil over medium high heat and add the chopped cabbage. Sauté until mostly cooked, but still crunchy; place in a bowl and keep to one side.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add the other teaspoon of oil along with the onions.
- Sweat the onions for a few minutes until soft, then make a space in the centre of the pan and add the sauce; cook for 2 more minutes or until you notice the liquid in the sauce just starting to reduce.
- Increase the heat to medium. Add the chicken or other protein along with ¼ cup water, stir to coat with sauce and add the greens; cook until the greens are bright green and mostly done cooking – about 1 minute, or 2 if cooking broccoli.
- Add the noodles and use tongs to move them around to coat in the sauce.
- Serve with the cabbage (can mix it together if serving right away), and sprinkle the top with some lime juice, cilantro leaves and crushed peanuts.