I adore soba noodles. Whenever I serve them, the meal feels special to me.  For this dinner, I used green tea soba noodles, immediately kicking things up a notch (remember Emeril from the old days of FoodTV?).  Green tea soba has a nice color that fades just a little during cooking. Of course, you can use any type of noodles, including whole-wheat, if soba is not available where you live.  The whole menu came from the latest Cooking Light issue, which is full of great recipes, by the way.  The hardest part of the preparation was cutting the sugar snap peas, but other than that, very fast from beginning to end, making it ideal to celebrate that evening still a bit far from the joys of the weekend…  😉

(adapted from Cooking Light June 2013)

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 + 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
3  skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
green tea soba noodles (or regular soba)
1 + 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved diagonally
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
toasted sesame seeds to taste
sliced green onions, to taste

Combine hoisin, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and five-spice powder in a large bowl.  Add chicken; toss to coat.  Grill for 10 minutes or until done, flipping the pieces half-way through cooking time.  Remove from the grill, let it stand for 5 minutes tented with aluminum foil.  Thinly slice across the grain.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.  Prepare the dressing for the noodles by mixing rice vinegar, sesame oil,  soy sauce, and Sriracha in a small bowl. Reserve.

Add noodles to the boiling water; cook for about 4 minutes.  Add peas; cook 1 minute or until noodles are tender. Drain. Add reserved dressing to the noodles & peas mixture.  Toss to coat. Arrange noodles on a serving plate,  top with chicken slices.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions right before serving.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  The recipe calls for cooking the sugar snap peas in the same pot with the noodles.  It is a nice thought to simplify things and avoid having two pots of water boiling, but next time I will cook them separately. It will be easier to assemble the dish, tossing noodles with dressing, then adding the snap peas and mixing them gently.   I like sugar snap peas barely cooked, almost blanched, to retain their bright color and bite.   Leftovers next day  were still very tasty, but just a minute in the microwave turned the peas into a sad dark green, dangerously pointing towards the gray.  Delicate creatures they are!

I served cucumber salad as a side dish, as suggested in Cooking Light. The recipe is on the link I provided.  You may notice I omitted the peanuts.  Cucumbers have been a constant side dish these days. They are simply perfect for this weather.  😉


ONE YEAR AGO: The Manhattan Project

TWO YEARS AGO: Carrot “Nib” Orzo

THREE YEARS AGOA Sticky Situation



As the proud owner of too many cookbooks,  I try to give them priority when searching for culinary inspiration, but every once in a while a blogger’s recipe blows away the competition, I won’t rest until I make it.   A beautiful photography is sure nice, but I am primarily taken by the writing along the recipe, especially if it conveys more than just cooking.

The moment I read Rosa’s write up on this post while listening to the beautiful song in the background, I knew I was going to make – and love – those noodles.  The few ingredients come together in what seems like an almost austere preparation, but refrain from the temptation of adding more stuff to it.  Accept its  Zen flow, and keep it simple.

(adapted from Rosa’s Yummy Yums blog)

2 bundles of buckwheat noodles (approximately 80 g each)
4 Tbs soy sauce (preferably Kikkoman)
1 + 1/2 Tbs dark sesame oil
2 + 1/2 Tbs rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1 + 1/2 Tsp Wasabi paste
3 Tsps fresh ginger, chopped
2  + 1/2 Tbs sesame seeds, roasted
2 medium carrots, cut into thin matchtsicks
1/2 medium cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks

In a large pan, bring salted water to boil, add the noodles, and simmer for about 4 minutes, or according to the package directions.  When the noodles are cooked, drain and immediately run cold water over them. Transfer the noodles to a bowl as you finish preparing the other ingredients.

Make the dressing by whisking together in a small bowl the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, wasabi, and ginger.  Add to the noodles, tossing to combine.  Add the toasted sesame seeds, and mix gently. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, add the carrot and cucumber, mix gently, sprinkle with more sesame seeds if you so desire.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: To cut the veggies I used one of these small  gadgets that work very well and are simple to wash.  It makes long ribbons that mimic the shape of the noodles, perfect for this dish.

This recipe will be part of our regular rotation from now on.  Leftovers were delicious next day, although the cucumber and the carrots lose their crispness after being in the dressing overnight.  It didn’t bother me at all, but you can always cut a little more of the veggies and add to your plate.   Buckwheat noodles seem to perform a little magic: they satisfy but never make you feel too full.  My favorite type of noodles, hands down.

Rosa, a big thank you for inspiring me with your “Lesson in Zen”    😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Griddle-Fried Filet of Petrale Sole

TWO YEARS AGO: Barm Bread (a must-bake bread!)

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