Thursday, July 7, 2011

Black Sesame Soba Noodles

So I gave you my favorite tofu recipe, now I have to show you how to use it, right?? This is a great example of a nice dish that turns fantastic with the addition of our little soy friend.

I am a fan of the one-dish dinners (especially on those nights where I was already in the kitchen all day). You know the ones, that offer complex carbs, loads of vegis and protein all in one... here we go. Although I did make it for the CSK tonight accompanied by Ginger Lime Edamame, Cooling Cucumber with Peanuts and Raw Chocolate Date Truffles. Not a bad combination, if you want to get fancy.

The first step is to make a paste out of soaked black sesame seeds, which set out to soak in water the night before (covered in your fridge if it happens to be fruit fly season!). Soaking nuts and seeds (as well as grains and legumes) neutralizes their natural phytic acid content, which can block the absorption of important vitamins and minerals as well as inhibit proper digestion and assimilation. Think of it as the first step in bringing the seed back to life (sprouting), which activates all those working enzymes and starts the antioxidant push. It works well in this dish as you are making a paste, and the seeds will actually blend up a bit easier when bloated.

A great dish for this season, look now for local broccoli, kale, radishes and scallions (or chives) popping up at the neighborhood farm stands (or your garden!) I actually used a combination of kale, bok choy and chard freshly picked from my backyard this morning. Soba noodles are usually a combination of buckwheat (gf) and wheat, although you can get 100% buckwheat soba for a pretty price tag. Another option for a gluten free adaptation would be long grain brown rice.

Black Sesame Soba Noodles
Serves 4-6

1/4 cup black sesame seeds

2 tsp. sunflower seeds

2 tsp. natural cane sugar

2 tbs. tamari

1 tsp. mirin
 or sweet white wine
1 tbs. toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

1 tbs. dark miso (red, barley or adzuki bean varieties work well)
pinch of red pepper flakes

Fine-grain sea salt

12 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tbs. tamari
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ginger powder

14 oz. block extra-firm tofu, diced
2 tbs. nutritional yeast 
1 head broccoli, in bite-size florets
1 head of kale, thinly sliced
1 watermelon (or rainbow) radish, thinly sliced in half moons
1 sheet toasted nori, thinly sliced in 2 inch pieces

3 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

Soak sesame seeds in enough water to cover for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Toast the sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan regularly, using your nose to test when they start to smell toasted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a food processor. Add sesame seeds and process for several minutes until seeds and minced. Add the sugar, tamari, mirin, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, miso, and red pepper. Pulse several times until combined. 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add soba noodles and cook for 4-6 minutes, until noodles are soft all the way through. Drain, saving water. Return hot water to the large pot, add broccoli and kale, stir and blanch 2 minutes, until bright green. Drain and return to pot with soba noodles.
In a large skillet, bring stock, tamari, ginger and garlic powder to a simmer over medium heat. Add tofu and cook for until liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and toss with nutritional yeast.
Add tofu and sesame paste to the soba pot and toss well. Taste and adjust to taste with additional tamari, sesame oil or hot sauce. Transfer to a large bowl and top with nori strips, scallions and radish slices.
 Relax. Eat Well. 

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