Considered a popular fast food item in Japanese train stations, soba noodles are thin, flavourful, light brown in colour and made from buckwheat. Buckwheat, a gluten-free grain that has grown in popularity over the last decade or so, is now eaten around the world but is still the subject of cultural importance in Japan and Korea. These noodles, often served cold in a salad in the summer months, and warm in a soup through the winter months, was the main ingredient in our stir-fry last night...and it was so good.
Tossed with some marinated beef, spinach, grated carrots, peas and sesame seeds, this lovely dish was first met with a "yuck" from my youngest, and then a big smile from the same boy as he munched away on his dinner. "Looks can be deceiving", I often tell him and this dish was no exception.
What I most liked about this dinner was how simple and versatile the dish was to make. While my guys didn't assist on this dinner, they easily could have. My eldest could have measured the ingredients for the sauce, my youngest could have grated the carrots or chopped the spinach, and either of them could have tossed it all together once the noddles were cooked. And while this was so yummy as it was, it is possible to make it all little more adult-friendly with a sprinkling of some red chili flakes, some hot sauce and possibly another green or two.
I think the Japanese are right on the money when they call this fast food, for these noodles can be prepared and served quite quickly but, unlike most modern fast-foods, they aren't mass produced and processed and that's fast food I can certainly agree with.
Soba Noodle and Beef Stir-Fry
1 package of buckwheat soba noodles
1 large steak, sliced
4 handfuls of baby spinach, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and grated
2 cups of peas, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp sesame seeds
4 tsbp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
4 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
~ Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar and vinegar in a small mixing bowl. Add half to a shallow dish and place the beef on top. Turn to coat and allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes (you can leave it all day if you want to do this before you go to work).
~ Once the beef has sat for a while, heat a skillet over med-high heat and drizzle some olive oil in the pan. Add the beef and allow to cook.
~ While the beef is cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the noddles. Allow the noodles to cook 5-7 minutes.
~ While the noodles are cooking stir the beef around, and when cooked though add the spinach, carrots, peas and sesame seeds and toss well.
~ Drain the noodles and add them to the skillet. Cover with the remaining sauce, heat though and serve.