We love our miso soups and keep several different types of miso in the fridge. Today, weak from an illness, I made a fortifying broth with spices and served with noodles, mushrooms and greens. Delicious.
When I say noodles I suspect you don’t immediately think of sea spaghetti. Yet this member of the seaweed group of ingredients is noodle-like in shape and texture. I have them in the pantry to soak and drape over salads or mix with rice and (real) noodle dishes to add a deep umami flavour. It spreads a deep, saline, addictive flavour throughout a dish.
Sea spaghetti has a similar texture to rice noodles, and with that gloriously salty kick it makes a brilliant accompaniment to other dishes. I bought it online but you might be able to find it at large Asian supermarkets.
I’ve also sprinkled toasted and crumbled dried sea spaghetti over rice and salad dishes, cooked it with real noodles and pasta, cooked it in soups and sauces, stir fried it with vegetables and thrown it into curries. I hear you can deep fry it coated in a light batter or semolina flour. It needs to be cooked right to the point of al dente – even a bit beyond, and I love it with light and fresh ingredients.
The basics of this recipe comes from Ottolenghi’s Simple, a book of simpler flavours and even simpler cooking procedures when compared to his other books. I love this book, along with his others, but after years of cooking from his other books, the recipes in Simple seem not-quite-Ottolenghi’ish in a nice, humorous sort of way. I took his recipe and added some Japanese seaweed, edamame and noodles to the dish.
Similar recipes include Sea Spaghetti, Ginger and Carrot Salad.
I hadn’t really cooked any dishes from Ottolenghi’s books for about a year (and it would be another 6 months before I went back to cooking his recipes regularly). When I began cooking from Plenty More again, I realised 2 things: Firstly how much I had missed the flavours of Ottolenghi, and secondly I remembered the almost tedious number of processes in each recipe.
The deep sweetness and intensity produced by miso paste, combined with other Japanese staples, are guaranteed to put a smile on your dial on an overcast Winter or Early Spring day.
This one is no different. It has 7, yes seven, different processes with associated pots, pans and equipment. Make the vegetarian dashi, ribbon cut and soak ginger and spring onions, prep the eggplants, deep fry the eggplants, saute the onions, walnuts etc, make the sauce, cook the noodles.
So Ottolenghi flavours come at a price. Leave an afternoon free – at least several hours to cook and clean up – when making any of his dishes.
To be fair though – the man I call the Master of Flavour produces amazing dishes that makes the hours worth the effort!
This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. You can see the original recipe here.
Browse all of our Japanese dishes and all of our Eggplant recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.
In Australia, we usually eat our noodles hot, but in Japan, noodles – especially soba noodles – are often consumed cold. They are flavoursome, textural and refreshing, and a great base or carrier for other flavours.
This dish pairs some quick pickled Shimeji mushrooms, carrots, radishes, snow peas and nori seaweed with the noodles. It is an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty More and is is a great Summer dish.
Cold noodles are a Japanese art form. On a trip to Tokyo a few years ago I queued with a bunch of suited businessmen to have lunch in one of the city’s most renowned soba noodle restaurants. It was incredibly humbling to watch a bunch of very busy people putting aside time to sit quietly for half an hour and completely immerse themselves in the appreciation of the profound subtlety of the noodles. Enlightenment still escapes me but I’ve had my own little life moments in various London noodles bars in recent months.
I ordered a “Cold Soba Noodle Bowl” in Sydney recently, looking forward to the noodles. Sadly it was 99% shredded raw veggies, and 1% noodles. This dish fixes that ratio with a more balanced serve of noodles with the herbs and vegetables. Delicious!
Oh those nights in the various China Towns of the world, eating noodles and congee and salt and pepper tofu, and wonderful silky eggplants. Simple dishes are tasty and elegant, in a way that sometimes we forget. Paring back to basics gives such good dishes.
For this dish you will need a basic Ginger Scallion Sauce (we call them Spring Onions, but it doesn’t sound as good). The sauce is useful in the kitchen and is one of my pastes, purees, powders, stocks and sauces that commonly grace my quiet kitchen bench. It is useful in so many ways – into soups and broths it goes, over rice with some deep fried tofu and shredded vegetables, drizzled onto bok choy with or without noodles, smeared on sandwiches.
Once you have the sauce, all you need for this recipe is some noodles and some veg. That’s it. And variations are endless. Make it as simple or as fussy as you like.
Do you have those times when Spring Onions (scallions, green onions) pile up in the fridge, forgotten? They are generally used in salads or as a garnish for soups and other dishes but rarely shine as a main ingredient. It is time to change that, and Ottolenghi is just the person to provide some inspiration.
This is one of Ottolenghi’s dishes that is a breeze to make, relatively speaking. In our Plenty More project, we’ve been making some of his more complex, time consuming and multi-pot making recipes, so it is a delight to make a dish that is simpler in preparation.
Yes, it is a dish from Plenty More, and is a simple stir fry of Spring Onions and Edamame, mixed with noodles, topped with coriander leaves and sesame seeds and dressed with Sesame oil, rice vinegar and lime juice. Don’t forget the lime – it is critical to this dish.
This is excellent with Steamed Aubergine.
Similar dishes include Soba Noodles with Quick Pickled Mushrooms, Soba Noodles with Quick Pickled Mushrooms, Ginger Scallion Noodles, Pan Fried Edamame with Chilli, Lime and Salt, Spring Onion Soup, and Glass Noodles and Green Mango Salad.
Oh deep fried tofu! Sssshh, don’t tell tofu-haters how good deep fried tofu is! I think we should keep it to ourselves. Deep frying changes the soft mushy texture of tofu to a crispy outer skin with a pillow soft inner. If you are drooling already, have a look at this deep fried tofu with a peanut sauce. Sensational.
This recipe takes some deep fried tofu and cooks it with sweet potatoes in a coconut green curry broth, and then serves it with noodles and coriander leaves. It is typically S. E. Asian, like the curries of Thailand and Malaysia. I also make it as one of my Miso Soup options, adding a little more broth to the ingredients. Miso Soup with Sweet Potato, Tofu and Noodles.
If you are not familiar with using miso, read about the different types.
Similar recipes include Miso Soup with Dried Shiitakes and Noodles, Sweet Potato Mash with Lime Salsa, Noodles with Spring Onions and Edamame, Chinese Bean Curd with Mushrooms and Vegetables, Lemak Style Vegetables, and Black Pepper Tofu.
Shimeji mushrooms are a popular mushroom in Japan with wonderful umami flavour. They grow at the bottom of Japanese oaks and red pines. When raw they have a somewhat bitter taste, but the bitterness disappears completely upon cooking. The cooked mushrooms have a pleasant, firm, slightly crunchy texture and a slightly nutty flavour. They love soups, stews and noodle dishes, and can be sauteed and slow roasted.
Similar dishes include Miso-Peanut-Coconut-Chilli-Turmeric Sauce, Miso Slow Braised Cabbage, Quick Pickled Shimeji Mushrooms, Hot and Sour Soup, Slow Cooked Creamy Mushrooms, Mushrooms for Toast, and Caramelised King Oyster Mushrooms.
A herby noodle salad with a sauce that combines the creaminess of both peanut butter and coconut milk, bringing an Asian island flavour to this salad. It is fresh and inviting with a touch of heat and it deserves a place at your table.
Are you looking for other Noodle dishes? Try Ginger Scallion Noodles, Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango, Broth and Dipping Sauce for Noodles and Tofu, Fox Noodles, and Sesame-Ginger Sauce for Noodles.
Ah, the wealth of noodles from all parts of Asia – Korea, Japan, China, South East Asia and India. An infinite number. Our local Asian grocery alone must stock over 100 different noodles. While traditional uses make fabulous dishes, using them in other ways is also delicious. For example, build salads around them.
Today’s salad is takes soba noodles as its basis and adds cooling cucumber, Japanese seaweed, miso and toasted sesame seeds. It’s a beauty!
Are you after other Noodle dishes? Try Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango, Peanut Noodle Salad with Coriander and Mint, Broth and Dipping Sauce for Noodles and Tofu, Fox Noodles, and Sesame-Ginger Sauce for Noodles.
You might also like to try Chinese Pickled Cucumbers.