Tuesday 10 April 2012

Spring Clean

 My cupboards are fit to bursting.  I am forever buying a new sort of noodle, sauce or spice for some dish or another and it is taking its toll on my already incredibly cramped storage space.  To top it off my Dad has just done his annual Passover trip to Golder's Green, when he feels an over-whelming urge to buy a glut of random food products, simply because they are "Kosher for Passover".  Why a bottle of lemonade or a jar of raspberry jam should ever have been in contact with "Chumetz" (anything which may ferment) in the first place, I have no idea, but he returns triumphant from "the North" with his bounty and distributes it - heaps of boxes of Matzos, several different varieties of pickle cucumber and a selection of arbitrary products, upon my Mother and each of his children and their families. 

I know it is a story of poor Jewish boy done good. I know he sees it as a Mitvah (a good deed). I know
he misses shopping for his Mum.  She lived on a measly pension and would have really appreciated him schlepping up to Hendon every week and making sure that she had enough to eat, although she probably never said so.  Nothing makes one value "having" like "not having" and as a child, my Farther would have known what is was like to have gone without.  So I try to appriciate this annual offering of strange things, that I have nowhere to put in my tiny house and every year, about this time I go through my cupboards to see what space I can find.  I like to think of it as a Spring clean. This year on the discovery of several packets of Japenese noodles, I felt much akin to religious Jewish families searching their houses from top to bottom for anything containing wheat or yeast and I simply had to use them up before Passover began.

I had made some chicken soup in my pledge to use up all the chicken bones from out weekly roast
chicken, which I now freeze until I have an impressive enough collection to make soup.  Every country in the world seems to have it's own version of chicken soup but one involving Soba Noodles could only be Japanese.  I added some vegetables, dried mushrooms, a little ginger, sesame oil,  miso and chilli.  I found a packet of dried seaweed in the cupboard as well.    Really simple, really quick. A really clean, healthy, restorative soup which will give you a Spring clean as well. 

Chicken Soba Noodle Soup
You can use all sorts of green leafy vegetables in this soup including all sorts of Choi, cabbage or spinach. As for the mushrooms, I used black fungus which don't have much taste but have a great texture but you could use Shiitake.  If you do not have a Japenese supermarket near you, such as Atari Ya, then you can buy most products made by Clearspring in the speciality section in a large supermarket.  Finally, if you are vegetarian, 
just omit the chicken stock, add a little more Miso and you will still have a delicious soup.
2 pints rich chicken soup
A large knob of ginger, julienned
A few teaspoons of soy
1/2 packet Soba Japanese buckwheat noodles
2 bok choi, cut into quarters lenghthways
6 oz. dried Asian style mushrooms
Small handful of dried seaweed (Wakame)
1 tablespoon Miso
1 bunch spring onions
1 fresh red chilli, very thinly sliced
1 lime
Sesame Oil

Heat up the chicken soup with the ginger juice to infuse and season with soy and salt to taste. Add the noddles and Bok Choi and simmer for about 5-7 minutes until cooked. Add the mushrooms and seaweed and simmer until re-hydrated (this takes a matter of minutes). Add a squeeze of lime and a drizzle of sesame oil. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Top with spring onions and chilli. Divide the soup between bowls and add a dash of Togarashi if using.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like the noodles that I just had for lunch!! But I used rice noodles instead. Oh for vegetarians, they could also add some kelp instead of more miso to make a delicious dashi!

    Lovely looking dish (: I'm always surprised to see other people use black fungus in their cooking! I eat it alot, and it's very common where I grew up, but most people have no idea what I'm talking about when I mention it here!


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