Soba and Chicken in Green Tea Broth

Soba noodles are one of Japan’s treasures and are made of buckwheat, which is very nutritious. They are fairly readily available, and you can also substitute any other fine pasta, like angel hair. Soba noodles cook quickly, and the Japanese believe that the cooking should be very gentle since buckwheat is lower in gluten and starchier than regular wheat flour and has a tendency to become mushy. In this recipe, I’ve included their interesting cooking technique for soba, which specifies adding cold water at a couple of intervals to ensure that the cooking will be gentle. I think it does make a difference, but you can also cook them straight away if you’re in a hurry.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces soba or other thin noodles
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • 6 cups or so Green Tea Stock
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 cups lightly packed young spinach leaves, stems removed
  • 1 pound poached or grilled boned and skinless chicken breast, sliced thinly
  • 4 green onions, sliced on the bias
  • Japanese pepper blend shichimi toragashi (available in Asian markets) or cayenne pepper
  • Soy sauce

Method

In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Drop in the soba noodles and stir to make sure they separate. When the water begins to boil and foam, add 1 cup of cold water. Return to a boil, and repeat the addition of cold water. Bring them back to the boil and test: the noodles should be cooked through but still firm. If not, repeat the process. When the noodles are cooked, immediately drain and rinse them with cold water. Gently rub the noodles to remove the surface starch. Toss with a few drops of sesame oil to keep the noodles from sticking together, and set aside.

Combine the Green Tea Stock and the sugar in a saucepan and heat to a simmer. Add the spinach and simmer for a minute or two more. Place the noodles in deep bowls and ladle the hot broth over them. Top with the chicken and green onions. Pass the pepper and soy sauce for each person to season to taste.

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