Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles

I was driving through Silver Spring, Maryland where I was stationed during my training for the new job when I came to a HAULT.  Is this for real?

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Am I driving around with nothing to do and did I really come across a Korean Supermarket in the process?  Yes!!!  Now, I know we have lots of these in Philly and I could easily go to one any day, but after stops at Trader Joes, Superfresh, Giant, Whole Foods, etc… who wants to go to another market?!  This was meant to be.

After walking around aimlessly in awe of all of the new produce, types of kimchi and rices, I stopped and literally just stared at the noodle section.  I was in heaven.  I decided that I had to buy some, and good ol’ Soba was the winner.  While Soba Noodles are available at some markets, they certainly aren’t abundant and certainly aren’t affordable.  I’m talkin’ I got a 2lb package for $2.99.  Awesome.

Now that I’m back home and busy as a bee trying to start my business in my new job… I’ve had little time (and cash flow) to go food shopping for us.  I’ve been making some pretty creative things, but last night I just was craving something warm… and spicy.  The soba noodles popped into my mind and I just could not get them to go away.  So, soba noodles it was!

I modified a recipe I’ve saved from Cooking Light and whipped up some pretty delicious (warm and spicy) Soba Noodles.

Okay, if you’re sitting here and you’re all like… “wtf is Beth talking about, what are Soba noodles?!?!” … take a second and check this out  or just be happy with my explanation:  they are really pretty and delicious buckwheat noodles that take like two seconds to cook and taste extra nutty and work well in most Asian dishes.

Soba Love

Soba Love

Oh, and I do of course have to mention that one cup of cooked Soba is over 100 calories less than one cup of cooked spaghetti.  BAM.

photo from Gourmet Garden

photo from Gourmet Garden

Another star of this quick and easy noodle dish that I absolutely HAVE to tell you about is my new Gourmet Garden herbs!  You’ve probably seen these in the refrigerated section in your produce aisle, but have you used them yet?  They are a lifesaver! These tubes are jam-packed with fresh herbs that are pre-washed, chopped, ready to use and will NOT go bad as fast as regular fresh herbs (my downfall when using herbs).  In this recipe, I used Chunky Garlic, Chili Pepper, and Ginger.  No spicy, garlicky, smelly hands… no peeling, no chopping.  Ah-May-ZING!

these bad boys are the bomb.com!

these bad boys are the bomb.com!

Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles

Ingredients:

2 bundles Soba Noodles

2 Chicken Breasts

Green Beans, Carrots, Broccoli, or other Veggies as desired

1/3 cup Water

1/3 cup Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

1 Tablespoon peeled, chopped Ginger (Gourmet Garden)

3 Tablespoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons Honey

1-2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper

1 pinch Ground Cayenne Pepper

1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Chili Pepper

1-2 teaspoons chopped Garlic (or Gourmet Garden)

Green Onions, sliced (I used my Freeze-Dried Chives)

1/4 cup chopped Dry Roasted Peanuts

Directions:

1.  Boil the chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks or strips, whichever you prefer, and set aside.  Cook whatever vegetable you want to use too.  Set aside.

2.  To cook the Soba Noodles, bring salted water to a rolling boil.  Drop the noodles in and lower the heat a little.  Boil for 4-5 minutes.  Drain and rinse under very cold water.  This will help prevent the noodles from clumping up and sticking together.

3.  Meanwhile, stir the water, peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, peppers, and garlic together in a medium-sized bowl with a whisk until well combined.  Taste and re-season according to how hot you prefer.

4.  Combine the noodles, chicken, veggies, and sauce.  Top with crushed peanuts and green onions.  Serve and enjoy.

Recipe inspired by:  Cooking Light

Mix up that sauce

Mix up that sauce

Crush some peanuts

Crush some peanuts

Combine everything together...

Combine everything together…

Voila!

Voila!

I don’t think there’s any better sauce than one that’s sweet, spicy, and has peanut butter.  I mean, really… how can it get better than that?  The Gourmet Garden herbs were kick-ass in the sauce and saved me so much time.  And needless to say, I am in Soba love!  MMM!

Check out Gourmet Garden on Twitter @FreshMadeEasy

Find Soba Noodles Here

and while you’re at it, look at these other sweet n spicy recipes from yours truly!

Mango-Sriracha Chicken

Mango-Sriracha Chicken

Slow-Cooker Asian Beef

Slow-Cooker Asian Beef

Peanut Butter Soba

Peanut Butter Soba

Sweet n Spicy Citrus Marinade

Sweet n Spicy Citrus Marinade

Peanut Butter Soba Noodles

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an Asian-Inspired recipe… my favorite kind of recipe I might add.  I was on my own for dinner the other night and was inspired to finish up the package of Soba Noodles I bought earlier this year for my Soba Pasta Salad.

Although the original recipe does not call for Soba Noodles, it worked really well with it.  I would probably even say I prefer it to normal spaghetti or the recommended Udon noodles!

Peanut Butter Soba Noodles

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook

Makes:  4 Servings

Ingredients:

1.5-2 Bundles Soba Noodles (that’s all I had left)

1 Cup Chicken Broth

6 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

3 Tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter

3 Tablespoons Chunky Peanut Butter

3 Tablespoons Honey

1 teaspoon Garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Hot Chili Garlic Sauce

1 teaspoon Sriracha Chili Sauce  

¼ cup Green Onions, chopped

¼ cup Peanuts, chopped

Sesame Seeds, optional

Directions:

1.  Cook the Soba Noodles according to directions on package.  I boiled water, threw in the pasta and let it boil for a minute, then turned it down to a simmer for 3 minutes.  I drained over a colander and ran it under cool water until they cooled off a bit.  Set aside.

2.  Combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, both peanut butters, honey, garlic, and both chili sauces in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Heat and stir until peanut butter is melted.  Cook for about 5 minutes or more until the sauce thickens a little.

3.  Toss pasta with sauce.  Let sit for 10 minutes in the refrigerator (if you want) while you chop the Green Onions and Peanuts.  Stir the pasta again, the sauce should become thicker.  Top with the Green Onions, Peanuts, and Sesame Seeds. 

I love green onions, and they’re really good on here!

This recipe is amazing served cold, or you can serve it warm if you’d like too!  It is very similar to “Cold Sesame Noodles” or “Szechuan Noodles” found in most take-out Chinese restaurants.  BUT- of course… it is much better.

The noodles are so soft without being mushy, they worked really well with the thick sauce.

I used Reduced Fat Peanut Butter for both my Creamy and Chunky and also Low-Sodium Soy Sauce in there.  I try to make healthier decisions as much as I can, and save on fat, sodium, or calories wherever I can.  It normally doesn’t compromise the recipe either.  I promise.

Does anyone else have a good Soba Noodle Recipe?  I love them!

Good Luck for 2012! Soba Pasta Salad

Did you know that certain foods are thought to bring good luck for the New Year?  I recently read this article from Good Housekeeping, and was inspired to make some good luck foods this week.

The first type of food on the “good luck” list is noodles.  Have you noticed that Soba Noodles have been everywhere lately?  I was curious why the sudden craze for buckwheat pasta, so I did some research.  God I LOVE google.  Buckwheat noodles have more protein than rice, B Vitamins, fiber, etc.  Check out this article for more info.

Cabbage was also on the good luck foods list… so this Cooking Light Recipe for Soba Noodles w/ Veggies and Tofu seemed like the perfect choice.  We all could use some extra good luck, right?

This recipe called for some ingredients that I didn’t already have, but it was so simple.  First, I made the dressing.  To toast the sesame seeds, I made a little bowl with foil, put the seeds in, and toasted it in our oven for a few minutes.  Simple.  Next, I dumped all of these ingredients into a small bowl and mixed it around with a whisk.

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon bottled minced or minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic

Minced Garlic and Ginger

Toasted Sesame Seeds in my makeshift foil container

Everything's ready to get into the bowl to make some sauce!

Salad:

  • 4 cups hot cooked soba (about8 ouncesuncooked buckwheat noodles) or whole wheat spaghetti
  • 3 cups very thinly sliced napa (Chinese) cabbage
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (12.3-ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes

To make the pasta salad, I first cooked 8oz of buckwheat noodles (SOBA!!) in a pot of boiling water.  The Soba Noodles that I picked up were in 4 little bundles, so I used two and a half of them.  While I was waiting for the water to boil, I shredded my carrots, cut up some cilantro, and sliced theNapa.  I followed the directions on the Soba box, but it is very easy:  boil water, put noodles in, let them boil then turn down the heat to a simmer for 3 minutes.  That’s all!

Now, this recipe called for the tofu to just be cut up and put into the mix… but I prefer mine to be warm, so I took about a teaspoon of oil, heated that in a pan, then dumped the cut tofu in with some salt and pepper.  I fried this up while the noodles were cooking.  It took about 10 minutes to get a nice brown on the tofu.

Sauteing the tofu real quick before putting it into the salad

Everything else is ready to get mixed in with the Soba!

Once all of these steps were done, I dumped all of the salad ingredients in a huge bowl and stirred in the sauce.  There was surprisingly enough to cover everything!  The BEST part about this dish is that the serving size is TWO CUPS!  That’s a lot for a healthy meal!  I really enjoyed this pasta salad, and am interested to see what it tastes like cold tomorrow.

I love anything that I can eat TWO CUPS of!!

How could I forget to mention that one serving of this delicious pasta has only 336 calories and 7 grams of fat?  WOW!  Hopefully this simple, healthy dish will bring myself and anyone else who tries it good luck for 2012!!