The first time I tasted Soba noodles was sometime in my 20s with my Queens girls, and we took a long road trip to Edgewater, New Jersey on a hot NY summer day. What made us cross the bridge was Yaohan, now known as Mitsuwa Marketplace–an indoor food mall specializing in Japanese food. From crispy red bean filled cakes shaped as goldfish(a Korean street food) to sushi, Yaohan had something for everyone. And more importantly, it had air conditioning.
Soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat, are delicate noodles, and are traditionally served in a heaping mound on a bamboo mat with a dipping sauce on the side. My step-mom makes a killer dipping sauce with grated Korean radish and scallions swirling in an anchovy based broth that’s both salty and sweet. Although it’s my favorite way to eat Soba noodles and the way I first tasted Soba at Yaohan, it’s not a favorite with my kids. After experimenting with Soba noodles, I’ve come up with a peanut butter based sauce that speaks to their American palate.
- 3 bundles of soba noodles
- 1 package of firm tofu
- 1/4 c natural peanut butter(room temp.)
- 1/4 tsp grated ginger
- 1 minced clove of garlic
- 1/4 c soy sauce
- 3 tbs rice wine vinegar
- 4 tbs vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp honey
- 2-3 c broccoli(blanched)
- 1 red bell pepper sliced thinly
- 2 or more tbs of hot water
- Prep tofu by draining it in a strainer. Press a plate on top of tofu(1 hour)in the strainer.
- In a large pot, boil water and blanch broccoli. Pull out broccoli after a minute.
- Cook soba noodles in the same water for about 10 minutes.
- Rinse noodles in cold water and strain.
- To make sauce, place grated ginger, minced garlic and 3 tbs of rice wine vinegar in a bowl.
- Add 1/4 c of peanut butter, 1/4 c soy sauce, 4 tbs oil, 1/2 tsp fish sauce and 1 tsp honey.
- Cube drained tofu and dry well on paper towels.
- Lightly coat a pan with oil and heat on medium. Once the pan is hot, pan-fry cubed tofu until it is crispy on the outside.
- In a large bowl, combine noodles, broccoli, red pepper, tofu and sauce.