Soba noodles with mushrooms and lime ginger dressing

The weather God has been quite unpredictable recently. It seems it can not quite decide between whether to shower us with bright sunny spring days or to go back into the cold rainy lapse. I do not mind either. Rainy days like this weekend is just another excuse to finish up the ever pilling indoor work -- like say doing taxes!

I spent the whole of yesterday afternoon sitting on the dining table finishing up my taxes (phew, done finally!). The weather was getting cloudier by the hour but once in a while sun would shine through the tiny pockets between the clouds basking the surrounding foggy green hills with a warm glow. It was so easy to just give up the laptop and take a nap for a while or just stare outside mindlessly. I lost count of how many times I refilled my coffee cup after three. Just as I was finishing up the last of the state taxes I thought wouldn't it be nice to have some chinese takeout for dinner today? Telling you, its the weather making you crave all sorts of things. I figured a visit to the asian market to buy some soba noodles after the taxes was enough of a carrot for a foodie like me :)

These soba noodles are a standby in my house next to the spaghetti. Soba are a type of Japanese noodles made out of buckwheat flour and often flavored with dried wild yam. They can be served either cold or hot. They are darker in color and have a wonderful bite to it that I so much like! I can eat cooked soba just with some soy sauce and vinegar dressing.. its that good!
I added some stir fried veggies to the noodles to make it a complete meal. I think the sauteed mushrooms with soba is a match made in heaven! The minced ginger is a big flavoring for the recipe as is the lime-vinegar dressing.
Soy sauces and vinegars come in various acidity and saltiness levels, so please adjust the seasonings per your taste.

3 small soba noodle packets (10oz in total)
2 to 3C assorted chopped stir fry veggies (I used broccoli florets, carrots and celery)
1 small can of water chestnuts - rinsed and drained
3C chopped mushrooms (I used a mixture of baby portabella and oyster mushrooms)
1Tbsp minced ginger
4Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2Tbsp asian rice wine vinegar
1tsp chili garlic paste (reduce to 1/2 for mild noodles)
juice of 1lime
sugar or honey to taste
salt to taste
sesame oil or canola oil

chopped green onions for garnishing

** The idea here is to stir fry the veggies, cook the soba separately and then mix everything together with some lime, vinegar, soy, ginger dressing.

** For the stir-frys thing to remember is a good wok or a heavy base frying pan and high heat. You cook oil to high heat. Add veggies one by one (on in a batch) stir fry them for a while stirring continuously. Remove the veggies from heat, add the next veggies batch and so on. Use a high smoke point oil like canola or sesame for a more authentic asian flavor; EVOO is probably not the best oil for stir frys.

** Different soy sauces and vinegars come with different taste profiles and acidity so please adjust the seasonings as you go. Be careful with salt as the soba noodles and the soy sauce both likely have some salt so add carefully.

** This recipe has heat component from chili garlic sauce, sour component from lime juice, vinegar and sweet from sugar or honey. At the end taste and make sure that all the flavors are in balance, if not, adjust.
  1. Prepare soba noodles in boiling water per package direction. (Unlike pasta I do not add salt to the cooking water for soba - see above).
  2. Meanwhile heat oil for stir fry in a wok or a frying pan.
  3. When the oil is hot, add minced ginger, keep stirring for a minute.
  4. Add the chopped veggies and water chestnuts to the pan. Continue stirring on high heat for a couple of minutes. (Do not let it burn).
  5. Add 3Tbsp soy sauce and chili garlic paste. Keep stirring and cook for a few more minutes. 
  6. Transfer the vegetable mixture to another bowl.
  7. Heat a little more oil in the same pan. Add chopped mushrooms and keep stirring (on medium heat) until most of the moisture has oozed out of the mushrooms (couple of minutes).
  8. Turn off the heat. Transfer the mushrooms to the stir-fried vegetables.
  9. When the soba noodles are cooked, add them to the mushrooms and vegetables. Add rice wine vinegar, 1Tbsp soy sauce, lime juice, sugar or honey and salt. Mix well. 
  10. Taste! Adjust the seasonings per your taste.
  11. Drizzle with some more sesame oil (or olive oil in my case). 
  12. Add some chopped green onions and serve hot!