six to eight servings
Nutty Japanese soba, or buckwheat, noodles are extremely versatile. They can be served cold or hot in soups and stir-fried dishes. Here, soba noodles are mixed with wild mushrooms, Chinese garlic chives, and bok choy. Serve this as a light lunch or dinner, or as a vegetable or staple side dish.
½ pound shiitake mushrooms, rinsed and drained
½ pound cremini mushrooms, minced and drained
1 pound bok choy or baby Chinese cabbage, stem ends trimmed
½ pound soba noodles
2½ tablespoons canola or virgin olive oil
3½ cups garlic chives cut into 1-inch lengths (if not available, use shredded leeks with 3 tablespoons chopped garlic)
1 teaspoon dried chile flakes (optional)
5 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake
5 ½ tablespoons light soy sauce, or to taste
- Remove and discard the stems from the shiitake mushrooms. Trim the cremini stem ends. Cut the mushroom caps into thin slices.
- Cut the bok choy on the diagonal into ½-inch sections, separating the leafy parts from the stalk sections.
- Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the stalk sections of bok choy and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the leafy parts and cook for 1 minute, until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh under cold running water in a strainer. Drain thoroughly. Bring the water to a boil again and add the soba noodles. Once the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat slightly and cook for 3½ minutes, until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse the noodles under warm running water. Drain again.
- Heat a large wok or a skillet until very hot. Add the oil and heat until hot, about 10 seconds. Add the garlic chives and dried chile flakes, if using, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the sliced mushrooms and stir-fry over medium-low heat. Add the rice wine or sake, cover, and cook for 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender. Uncover and turn the heat to high. Add the bok choy and soy sauce, and toss lightly over high heat to heat through. If the soba noodles are sticking together in clumps, rinse in a colander under cold running water. Drain thoroughly. Add the noodles and toss lightly to mix and heat through. Scoop out onto a serving platter and serve immediately.
Copyright Nina Simonds “Spices of Life” 2008