Tag Archives: soba

Weekend soba January 2012

17 Jan

The girls love having soba noodles on the weekend.

This weekend’s soba included:

Hachiwari soba, or noodles, whose buckwheat content is 80% vs wheat flour.  Often, you’ll find there are soba noodles being sold with 50/50 or even less of buckwheat, or soba-ko.  These were not organic, but I couldn’t find organic >50% soba at the store.

Poached egg, poached in the boiling tsuyu (soup)

Blanched carrot slices

Blanched scallion (the green parts cut into 1 inch pieces, dipped in the boiling tsuyu (soup) until brilliant green), the white parts cut into 1/8 inch pieces and sprinkled on top before eating

Turkey soboro

Maitake simply blanched in the simmering tsuyu or soup.

The soup was a quick concoction of:

Dried niboshi, about 2 tbs that I simmer in a small pot of boiling water.  I break up the fish into smaller pieces – as they are dry, they crumble easy like crackers.  1 tbs of the ground shiitake  powder, which I slowly mix into the water.

I add salt and a quick circle-around-the-pot of soy sauce to taste.  Since the niboshi is salty, and the soboro is already seasoned, I keep the flavor on the mild side.

In a separate pot, the soba was cooked until al dente – my girls take a little more time to eat their noodles, so this prevents the noodles from getting gummy and mushy.  I drained the noodles, and portioned into bowls.

I cooked the carrots and scallions in the boiling soup pot, and removed the pieces once they blanched.  The maitake took even less time – I just “pass” it through the heat.

I then poach the egg until the white is opaque, but the yolk is still a little soft.  This goes on top of my noodles.  I arrange the veggies around the egg.  I top this with the soboro, which I’ve heated (microwaved for 1 minute) separetely, and then ladle the soup over the noodles.

I garnish with the chopped scallions, as well as some turnip greens which I’ve coaxed to grow from the top of a turnip I had cut last week, and placed on a dampened paper towel in a plastic tupperware container. 

I can’t go to my garden, but I’ll figure out a way to grow SOMETHING!

I sprinkled a little shichimi togarashi or seven-spice red pepper for color (and a little taste) and the girls were happily slurping their lunches.


***  I wanted to add and to clarify, the above methodology is NOT the conventional or traditional way to make soup broth for soba and udon!!!! Maki of “Just Hungry” provides an excellent summary and explanation of how to make this very delicate, fragrant, and delicious broth , here.  I tend to take a very informal approach to cooking due to limited time, patience and ingredients on hand!!  *****


Christmas 2011 breakfast

5 Jan

Weekend breakfasts at our house usually include buckwheat in the form of soba noodles, which the girls enjoy slurping up with their training chopsticks.  This allows Papa to sleep in, as he is one who must have been a cat in his past life – if he could sleep for 80% of his life, he would be content. 

For Christmas morning, I decided to forego the noodles, and make waffles with the awesome buckwheat pancake and waffle mix I found at the store.  I dusted (and washed) off the waffle iron that dwells in our storage closet, pre-heated it, and mixed the waffle batter together, following the recipe on the back of the bag.  The consistency was interesting – it was more elastic than the 100% whole wheat waffle batter I usually make, and the color was a pretty grayish color which reminded me of … soba noodles!

I ladled the batter into the waffle iron, and set out to make a breakfast that would rouse Papa out of bed.  (He retired after the kids opened their gifts at the crack of dawn).

We had scrambled eggs (Makinajian’s of course!), bacon, waffles with maple syrup that we enjoyed after pouncing on Papa to wake him up.

My brother and his family came over afterwards, and we had a nice time with them as we opened gifts. 

Then, more chaos as we rushed to another round of visiting with Nanna, and then her best friend, Auntie C____ for roast turkey (they are a Makinajian convert too!) and ham.

My girls and Papa were content – and I was even more content, as I parted Auntie C’__’s home, triumphantly, with the turkey carcass and ham bone to make stock and soup at home. 

The small pleasures of life!


Tofu, soba, shiso, with a Lenzu-mame closer

22 Aug

Some days I’m completely uninspired to cook at home.  I scurry through the house around dinner time, assembling healthy, but quick meals for the girls.  Summer-time dinners are easy and fun, and often do not require much preparation.

With the garden producing green beans, long beans and shiso in abundance, I am able to offer lightning fast meals.

In the past week, the girls had a variety of classic summer Japanese dishes such as:

Zarusoba, or chilled, drained, soba noodles, served with a dipping dashi based sauce, topped with chopped scallions, julienned shiso and grated ginger.

Hiyayakko, or chilled and drained medium-firm tofu cubes, served with a dipping sauce of soy sauce, garnished with chopped scallions, thinly sliced shiso, grated ginger, katsuobushi and sesame seeds

Blanched okra, cut into 1/4 inch slices, with ponzu sauce

Blanched string beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, served with soy sauce and katsuobushi

Tamago dofu, or literally “egg tofu” – conventional, and store-bought – but one of my all-time favorites as a child.  It’s essentially, savory egg custard, served cold, with a dashi “soup”

Fresh tomatoes with a bit of salt (or none)

Yet, after a few continuous days of light, summer eating, I started craving a hearty, belly-warming soup.

Lentil soup fit the bill.

Into a large pot, I brought 6 cups of water, and 2 cups of chicken stock to boil. 

Into the pot (in order) went the following:

2 cups dry lentils – picked over, rinsed, and drained

2 onions, quartered, and cut into bite sized pieces

3 medium potatoes, peeled, rinsed, and cut into bite-sized pieces

3 carrots, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tbs of powdered shiitake

Two large handfuls of string beans – these are from the garden, so I’m not sure how much they weigh.  I cleaned them, and cut them into inch-long pieces, de-stringing some of the larger beans.  I have a mixture of home-grown long-beans and regular string beans in this soup.

I simmered this over medium heat until the lentils plumped up, and became tender (about 30 – 40 minutes).  I seasoned with a little sea salt, pepper, as well as a tablespoon of soy sauce.  Sometimes I season with a drizzle of olive oil and salt, or even, a good amount of sriracha sauce. 


I often serve poached eggs with whole wheat toast for the girls’ breakfast, and the girls love their “dip-dip” eggs.  For this week, I served the poached egg over the lentil soup, and allowed them to sprinkle just a little sea-salt (on their own) over the egg.  They then carefully broke open the yolks, and mixed it into their soup, and enjoyed their “dip-dip” egg soup.

“Jiji, Baba, we had LENZU-MAME (lens-shaped, Japanese name for lentils) soup today!”  they announced on skype. 

“Mame-mame!” the little one happily added.