Chuka Soba that tastes like more…

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This recipe is a favorite of mine. I’ve posted it before, with a much more charming introduction than now, so if you are fond of stories, go have a look. But I want to call attention to the recipe again for the pleasure of my readers, and this format may be more reader friendly. I’ve been a bit off-kilter for the past few weeks, not sleeping well, and not having much of an appetite. That has made cooking a low priority in my life, but this is very easy and delicious comfort food, even if you have not had much experience with Japanese food. You can change the shrimp and scallops for lobster or crab, or mussels, clams, salmon, or whatever seafood you fancy. Of course you can substitute any green vegetables you like as well. For me, it is the simple sauce that makes this dish so happy and satisfying.

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Oh, noodles. So lovely…

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Pan-Fried Crisp Chuka Soba
with vegetables and seafood

Age-chuka Soba Itame-yasai to Shi-fu-do
serves 4
page 344
Cook the Noodles:
13 ounces dried chuka soba noodles
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil. Add
noodles and cook them al dente, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Test for doneness by removing and biting a noodle.
Drain and toss with sesame oil in a large bowl. Set them aside while you prepare
the vegetables and sauce.
The Toppings:
4 ounces snow peas
2 cups soybean or mung-bean sprouts
1 small head of broccoli, separated into flowerets
2 ounces bamboo shoots, cut into 1″ x 1 1/2″ strips (I used water chestnuts)
16 medium shrimp (or 8 shrimp, and 8 scallops), butterflied or not
Combine the peas, bean sprouts, and bamboo
shoots. In a medium pot of boiling water,
blanch the broccoli for 30 seconds, then add
the bowl of other vegetables. Blanch for another
10 seconds. Drain, cool, and set aside.

Fry the shrimp and scallops separately. Reserve.
Or poach the seafood in 1 cup of chicken stock. Remove and reserve. Use the chicken stock for making the sauce.

The Sauce:
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tablespoons sake
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon shoyu
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 Tablespoon potato starch, mixed with 1 1/2 TBS water
Ground white pepper
Combine the chicken stock, sake, sugar, and shoyu.
Fry the noodles:
3/4 to 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
Heat a skillet and add about 3 Tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add one-quarter of the noodles, and press them with a spatula to make a flat disk about 7 inches in diameter. Cook over medium-low heat, turning it once, until both sides are golden and crisp. Remove the noodles and drain on paper towels. Repeat to make 4 noodle cakes. Add more oil as needed to prevent sticking. Reserve all four cakes. Keep warm if possible.
The Stir-Frying:
Heat a wok, and add a little vegetable oil. Add the shrimp and scallops, and give them a few good stirs. Add the vegetables, and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add the sauce, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the potato starch slurry. Cook until the sauce is thickened. Taste and add salt if needed. Add a generous amount of ground pepper.
Serving:
Put the crisp noodle cakes into four bowls. Divide the sauce and vegetables among the dishes. Serve.
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Focus is important.
Really, it’s what you look at,
and less than what you see.

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Foiru-yaki: Mixed Grill in Foil Garlic Scapes and Orzo

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