Veggies on the counter

Soba Noodle Bowl with Kimchi and Satay Sauce

Posted in main courses, salads by veggies on the counter on January 28, 2014

sobabowl

One quality I highly admire in people is their ability and willingness to try new or “different-than-usual” foods. While some people sometimes seem to be afraid of new tasting experiences (I know quite a few), others dig into new dishes without blinking an eye and just for the sake of curiosity.

I guess Luís fits into the latter category.  The other day I was all excited with my first attempt at making kimchi and, to my surprise, he seemed to like it. He compared it to wasabi, which at first might sound odd, but thinking of it I realized those two foods share the same kind of fresh and invigorating spiciness.

Even though the instructions for this recipe (particularly the kimchi) seem to be long, this is a dish that is really easy to put together. The peanut satay calls for ingredients you probably have in the fridge already, and you can use tahini or almonds in the place of the peanuts if you feel like it. As far the as vegetables go, use what you have on hand, really: spring onions, raw turnips’ or carrots’ batons and assorted greens can definitely replace the ones I call for in here.

final collage 02

Now, onto the kimchi: I highly encourage you to make your own kimchi and start digging into the fermentation topic a bit – this is a wonderfully written book on that, by the way –, as it’s fascinating how the action of time imparts such a peculiar tangy sourness to vegetables. You might get addicted along the way and, if you’re like me, start fermenting everything in sight. At this moment, I have a jar filled with (almost soured) beets and another one with cabbage, which will soon turn into (hopefully) delicious sauerkraut.

final collagesobabowl_02

Soba Noodle Bowl with Kimchi and Satay Sauce

(serves 2-3, as a main)

160 gr soba noodles

6 to 8 radishes, thinly sliced

3-4 button mushrooms, thinly sliced

200g pan fried tofu, cubed

plenty of green leaves (I used baby rocket)

1-2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

kimchi (recipe follows – as much or less as you want)

for the satay sauce

60 gr / 1/3 cup unsalted peanuts

80 ml / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut milk

juice of one medium-large lemon

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

1 teaspoon soy sauce

15 gr fresh ginger, finely grated

1 small coriander bunch / about 12 gr finely chopped

for the kimchi

1 kg / one very large chinese or napa cabbage, coarsely chopped

6 large garlic cloves

3-4 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated

3 red chilis, finely chopped

1 large leek, finely sliced

8 cups water

8 tablespoons sea salt

To make the satay sauce: in a pan over low-medium heat, toast the peanuts until they’re golden brown (3-4 minutes). In a mortar and pestle, mash the peanuts and the salt together. I like my satay fairly chunky, so I don’t mash the peanuts until they come to a paste – I leave some of them broken down for a bit of texture.

Transfer the peanut and salt mixture to a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and whisk everything together until you get a creamy sauce. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if needed be.

In the meantime, bring a large pan with plenty of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook them for 6-7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To make the kimchi: In a large non-reactive bowl, mix the water and the salt. Whisk for a minute or two or until the salt is dissolved. Add the cabbage to the bowl and make sure it’s covered by the salted water (brine). Let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next day, drain the cabbage and reserve some of the brine (1 or 2 cups should be enough). If it’s too salty, wash the cabbage under cold water, rinse and drain again. If it’s not, simply drain it.

Mash the garlic cloves, ginger and chilli into a mortar and pestle. Rub this paste into the cabbage. Add the chopped leek to the mixture and pack everything together into a clean 1 liter jar. With your clean fingers, press the cabbage down into the jar so that it releases some of the brine. Make sure the cabbage is submerged in the brine (it should be 1 cm above the cabbage). If it’s not, add back some of the brine you previously reserved. Cover the kimchi with another jar, slightly smaller than the one you’re using, filled with water or beans to press the cabbage down. Check your kimchi every day and, with your clean fingers, press it down a little bit each time, always making sure it’s covered by the brine. After a week or so, it’s ready to be eaten and you can store it in the fridge, where it will continue to ferment but at a much slower pace.

To assemble: add to each bowl a fairly good amount of soba noodles, and top them with plenty of sauce (1-2 tablespoons per person or as much as you want). Add the raw vegetables (radishes, mushrooms and greens), the pan fried tofu and, finally, the kimchi (I add about 2 tablespoons per bowl).

The Kimchi recipe is lightly adapted from the book “Wild Fermentation” (2003), by Sandor Ellix Katz

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6 Responses

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  1. lindsaybelle said, on January 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    that’s sounds really tasty – definitely on my to try list!

  2. Momentos Editados said, on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 am

    OMG! Sounds really tasty!! :)

  3. Jo said, on April 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I have a question about making the kimchi. When you put the cabbage in the glass jar it says the cabbgae must be coverby the brine. Do you make more brine to add to the jar (because the first lot you threw away)? What do you do with the leek? O know it’s a lot of questions… Thanks for your delicious looking recipes.

    • veggies on the counter said, on April 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Hi! Thanks for passing by. I edited the recipe instructions in order to clarify your doubts. Anyway, you basically drain the cabbage and when you pack it down into the jar (press it with your fingers or a clean spoon) it will release enough brine to cover it by 1 cm. I never found the need to reserve the first brine but you can do it just to be on the safe side. That way, if your cabbage doesn’t release enough water (some cabbages are older than others and simply have less water), you just have to add some of the brine back (again, only enough to cover). Hope I answered your questions. Happy fermentation!

      • Jo said, on April 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

        Thanks for replying so quickly.

      • veggies on the counter said, on April 24, 2014 at 2:50 pm

        Ah! And the leek goes into the jar with the cabbage and the other ingredients.


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