Noodles are definitely an integral part of Japanese culture and something I grew up eating frequently (and not just Top Ramen!). Even as a fourth generation Japanese-American, my mom would make traditional Udon for New Year's with dashi soup stock, kamaboko (fish cake), green onions, nori strips and half a soft-boiled egg for topping. The most well-known Japanese noodles are Ramen (thin-wheat based), Udon (thick white noodle), Somen (also thin and wheat based but often served cold) and Soba (buckwheat noodles served hot or cold). I've decided to use a recipe with the Soba noodles because it's the only one made from buckwheat flower, it's naturally gluten-free and can be served cold. As a busy mom of three, my family rarely gets 'piping hot' anything, so this dish makes me seem as though I got it right and if no one comes to the table after I yell three times that dinner's ready, it's no sweat off my back. I also cheat with this recipe and use ready made sweet chili sauce and Marukan's "Ponzu" sauce for my salad dressing. Quick and easy.
Soba with Dipping Sauce - serves 6
1 package (16 oz) soba - I love the Explore Asian brand
2 sheets nori (Japanese seaweed), toasted and crumbled
2 cups dashi (fish stock) - you can get this at most Asian markets in an instant package or you can make it from scratch, recipe on the bottom.
3-4 Tbsp soy sauce 1/2 tsp sugar
Condiments: 2 green onions, chopped grated daikon (Japanese radish)
- Combine sauce ingredients, bring to a boil. Set aside.
- Boil noodles until tender (about 7-8 minutes) stirring occasionally. Do not overcook.
- Drain in colander and run cold water over noodles to stop cooking.
- Divide into 6 bowls, top with nori.
- Serve with dipping sauce in individual bowls.
- Green onion or grated daikon may be added to the sauce according to individual taste.
Sweet Chili Chicken - serves 6
3 chicken breasts, split in half lengthwise to make thin
6 tbsp sweet chili sauce (available at most markets in the Asian section)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sesame oil
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over the raw chicken.
- Melt about 1 tbsp butter to a medium sized pan on medium high.
- Saute the chicken on both sides until just done.
- Remove chicken from the pan.
- Add 1 tbsp sesame oil to the pan on high heat.
- Add 6 tbsp sweet chili sauce until the sauce and oil are combined and are sizzling.
- Add the chicken to the pan until coated and remove.
Salad with Ponzu Sauce
Field greens, chopped butter lettuce, any lettuce will do.
Thinly slivered carrots
Chopped purple cabbage for color
Marukan's Ponzu sauce dressing
- Make a bed of lettuce, top with carrots and purple cabbage
- Squeeze a quarter lime over top add Marukan's Ponzu sauce dressing and toss.