I tried buckwheat noodles (known as soba in Japan) for the first time whilst at university in England, at that time I had no idea they were a celebrated Japanese staple. I’d heard they had numerous health benefits, so started using them in pasta dishes as a substitute for white pasta. Soba flour contains eight amino acids and a rich source of vitamins, in contrast, most other flours are limited to amino acids. It’s also a surprisingly good source of protein and fibre.
I imagine to the average Japanese person the thought of swapping pasta for soba and mixing it with Western style sauce would be one of horror. Like many aspects of Japanese culture, rules play an integral part of everyday life, even in the kitchen. I’ve been to a few restaurants where they play around with ingredients and allow an interesting fusion of Western and Japanese cuisine, however I’ve never come across a pasta dish using soba.
To the non-English, English cuisine is notorious for not being a cuisine at all. Hailing from England, I of course disagree however I am stumped when asked “what is English food?” the obvious answers are; fish n chips, roast dinner, afternoon tea and meat and two veg meals, but these dishes are food that my family had occasionally, not on a daily basis, so what did we eat? In the main an eclectic mix of world cuisines, with a perhaps unconventional English twist. And that’s the beauty of the English cuisine, there are no rules per se.
So here’s an atypical soba dish: Spicy prawn edamame noodles
- 200g of soba
- a pack of frozen edamame, (take out of the shell before you start cooking)
- 1 garlic glove
- 2cm piece of fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 3 tbsp Thai chilli sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 250 gram of prawns (frozen are much cheaper than fresh)
– Add the soba to boiling water, it should take around 5-8 minutes to cook, check the instructions on the pack as some vary.
– Then add the edamame after 3 minutes, once the soba is ready, scoop 1 cup of cooking water and then drain the soba, set the water and soba aside.
– In a bowl mix the ginger, garlic and chilli sauce, ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil and 2 tbsp of water, if you have a blender then you can puree it with that, if not mix well.
– In another bowl mix the lemon, sesame oil and soy sauce.
– Sprinkle the prawns with salt and then fry in vegetable oil for about 2 minutes, next add the chill sauce mixture and heat until the prawns are cooked.
– Lastly add the soy sauce mixture, cooking water and soba. Then toss.
– Serve in bowls and drizzle with sesame oil and more chilli if you like spice.