Kimchi, Soba, and Pesto

My recent casual but frequent abuse use of umeboshi, the sour salty pickled plums loved in Japan, set in motion a series of meals involving kimchi and fresh Korean soba noodles. Little Tess went to the Galleria to pick up some more umeboshi for me and saw that they were selling the same brand of fresh soba she loved in California. Like any good shopper who doesn’t stick to her list she fell for a container of kimchi which she’d been craving. Kimchi is Korea’s national dish, and there are hundreds of varieties made with a main vegetable ingredient such as napa cabbage, radish, scallion, or cucumber.

The soba she brought home is also a favorite of mine. It’s delicious served cold with a dipping sauce made with soy sauce, tamari, a little sugar, dashi, and katsuobushi. You can season your own dipping sauce with green onions and wasabi. Oh! and ice cubes on the noodles! Other condiments to serve with soba noodles:
finely sliced green onions, wasabi, seven-flavor pepper (tohgarashi), toasted sesame seeds, shredded green shiso leaves, finely cut nori (cut with a pair of kitchen scissors), grated fresh ginger, or grated yuzu peel. I like a bit of lemon or lime juice as well.Along side, I like to serve fresh-from-the-farmers’-market super sumptuous summer tomatoes. Sometimes I serve the noodles with tori namban-zuke cold sliced chicken marinated with a spicy soy sauce-and-vinegar dressing.

The soba comes in a package with five skeins of noodles, each twist of noodles meant as one serving. A LOT OF NOODLES, even for a noodle lover! When served with some vegetables and protein that package was 8 servings for the 3 of us. Two bunches went for a traditional cold soba and dipping sauce.

With the other three I used some of my almond shiso umeboshi pesto base. I call it a pesto base because I accidentally used twice as many almonds as required and the sauce really needed more herbs. My shiso is beginning to adopt its autumn colors, pale green and yellow, and the leaves are becoming tough. My solution: mint. The complex flavor was wonderful with the soba.


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