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Bone tingly noodle soup

June 5, 2010

Chilly snaps have turned into a permanent coldness down south, although thankfully, it has stopped raining for two days. Whether it’s sunny or not, this has been our lunch so many times – soba noodles in a light vegetable stock, with quick-cooking veges and a poached egg. Will likes his without soup, so I just scoop out the noodles and stuff and I drown my noodles and stuff in home made vegetable broth (thanks to Heidi Swanson who brought my attention to the easiest, space-saving, cheapest, awesomest idea ever to make your own bouillon). The soup is soooooo freakin perfect for lunch when that morning warmth from getting out of bed wears off.

It’s also super easy, using only one pot and whatever bowl you want to eat out of (or if eating out of the pot doesn’t make your hairs stand on end, go for it). Weirdly, it’s also kind refreshing. Unlike most wintery stodgy food which feels like it was soaked, cooked, and then also smeared with butter (not that there is anything wrong with that), this has very little fat except for the drizzle of sesame oil and egg (which you could replace with tofu cubes if you really wanted to). That said, it’s incredibly satisfying, and pretty healthy to boot.

There are the noodles with soup. If you have good vegetable stock (especially home made), then use it here, as the flavour won’t get lost. Also, do yourself a favour and at least look at the home made bouillon/stock recipe. It requires no cooking, one food processor or blender, and much less space than liquid stock. Plus you can freeze it for ages. I know. Genius. You will be amazed. I made mine with just leek, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, and the best bit – leftover roast garlic cloves from some potatoes I did. Superb. Incomparable to any bought stock, even my past favourite by Rapunzel (available at Piko in Chch and Amazon).

Having greens in the garden also helps. If you’re wondering, that’s mizuna and something else. Don’t quite know what, but it was in my mesclun seed mix, and I adore it. I think I might do a winter greens post soon, as I was left wondering what on earth grows in winter.

Also, if you’re wondering what soba noodles are, they are a Japanese noodle that is partly made of buckwheat flour, hence the greyish colour. The first time I had these the colour seemed really offputting, but they really don’t taste much different to your average noodle. They are so much more intriguing than normal noodles though! Better yet, they cook in about 3-5 minutes, and are much more nutrient-dense than white noodles. They aren’t as cheap, however, with about 1kg setting me back around $8-10. The cheapest kind I could find were Korean, at Kosco. They also use the least packaging, which I like. Will try and do a kelp/seaweed and soba dish sometime soon, so keep posted if you’re interested in the use of the noodle. I also had a post on miso soba noodles.

Right. Are you ready for some serious slurpage?

Soba noodle soup

serves 2

  • about 2 1/2 c water or stock
  • if using water, about 1tsp vege stock powder or bouillon
  • bundle of soba noodles (about 2.5cm or 1″ in diameter)
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • a generous handful of leafy greens (spinach, kale, rocket/arugula, mizuna, bok choy)
  • 2 free range eggs (seriously, you will notice the difference, since you’re poaching them) or cubed tofu (no need to press)
  • handful chopped green/spring onions/scallions
  • sesame oil for drizzling

Bring the stock to a boil in a medium large saucepan on medium high heat. Add the noodles (they won’t fit, but arrange them in a circle like you would with spaghetti) and carrots. Once the noodles fall into the water, and go bendy (stick a fork in and swirl it around to see if this is the case), crack the eggs in, apart so you can separate them. Reduce the heat to medium low. Let sit on the heat for about 2 minutes. Add the greens and spring onion, and remove from heat. VERY gently stir through the leaves. As soon as they have all wilted, serve, being careful when pulling out the eggs as the centres may be runny, and there’s nothing more disappointing than a broken yolk before it’s meant to be broken. Use a spaghetti spoon to get out the noodles and veges, and a ladle for the egg. Then pour over the soup if you want it. Drizzle lightly with sesame oil, and crack over some black pepper if that’s your thing.

Use good eggs! Y’hear? Those are woodland eggs if you’re wondering. Great value for the amazing egg-age that you get.

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