Buckwheat soba noodles are very popular in Japanese cuisine. Silky, healthy, and delicious, they are my favorite of the noodles. In this recipe, they are paired with a lot of nutritious vegetables, blanched in a miso broth, which then reduced to a sauce, and mixed with a black sesame relish. Everything you need is in this bowl of food. The recipe is adopted from Ottolenghi's "Plenty more", an incredible book I highly recommend to vegetarians and vegans.
For the soba noodles, boil for 3 - 4 minutes:
Soba noodles, 2 bunches (they usually come in a packet of 4 bunches).
Drain, refresh under cold water, and keep submerged in water until serving (if cold, instantly dip in hot water).
For the broth, mix in a pot:
Vegetable stock, 2 cups
Miso paste, 3 tbsp (from Asian markets, once opened keep sealed in the fridge forever)
Soy sauce, 2 tbsp
Mirin, 2 tbsp (from Asian markets, keeps on the shelf forever)
Sugar, 1 tsp
Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Add the following vegetables individually, as the don't cook at the same time, and remove using a slotted spoon on a plate before adding the next:
Mushrooms, 2 cups fresh, sliced in 1 cm pieces. Here I used fresh Shitake, and Shimeji (use them whole, they are very small and thin, no need to cut them), but any will do. Blanch for 3 minutes.
Carrot, thin buttons, from 1 pc. Blanch for 3 minutes.
Cucumber, thin buttons from 1 pc. Blanch for 1 minute.
Broccoli, in small florets, from 1 pc. Blanch for 5 minutes, check the stem is just cooked.
Increase heat and reduce sauce to a thick consistency (about 100 ml). With a rigour boil this should take about 10 minutes.
For the black sesame relish, mix in a bowl:
Peanuts, 1/3 cup, roughly chopped with a knife on a cutting board.
Black sesame seeds, 1/4 cup
Chilli flakes, 1 tsp
Vinegar, 1 tbsp
Maple syrup, 1 tsp
Olive Oil, 2 tsp
To serve, place the noodles and vegetables in a bowl, dress with the sauce and relish, and garnish with:
Spring Onion tops, in thin strips