Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015!! I have many goals for 2015, but one that I’ll invite you join in for: EAT GOOD FOOD! Seriously. Why not? Let’s make delicious healthy food and be grateful every time we eat it. I’m starting you off with an easy way to go down that road: sesame soy soba noodles with blackened veggies and garlic chips. That’s a mouthful, right? This is one of those recipes that I had a hard time naming — you guys know I like to be practical and actually TELL YOU what’s in a dish, but this one has so much going on it would make for a ridiculously long title! Gingery sesame soy soba noodles with soy carrots, caramelized mushrooms, roasted red peppers, homemade garlic chips, and sesame seeds. That’s a little much, right? BUT YOUR MOUTH WILL LOVE ME FOR IT!
Despite the long name and variety of ingredients, this is really easy to throw together. Just do your prep (cut your veggies), and then you can throw it all together quite quickly. I ate this cold — which makes it even easier: you can prepare the noodles at your leisure, or prepare anything else ahead of time! You could also have it hot, if you want, but that takes a little more coordination.
Let me tell you about the GARLIC CHIPS! Ooohoho garlic chips. I’m not even sure that’s what they should be called, but we’re gonna roll with it. The first time I had garlic chips was that day in Laos where a short mountain bike ride turned into an epic all day mountain bike ride through the rain and mud and all I had to sustain myself was Pepsi and garlic chips. Seriously, we were trying to find food SO DESPERATELY after hours and hours of riding our bikes through sun and rain, and all we could find was a small store that sold drinks (hence the two Pepsis) and tiny bags of peanuts and garlic chips. I WAS IN LOVE. You know I love garlic, but I’d never had them sliced into thin rounds and fried up all crispy and delicious! I was hooked. And then I started seeing them everywhere (thank goodness!)! They’re in all sorts of dishes over here in Indonesia, so I figured I should probably try to make my own. It’s ridiculously easy: slice up garlic, fry in a little bit of oil. Voila! You have garlic chips. If I could make/buy these in Costco-sized potato chip bags: I WOULD. And then nobody would ever kiss me again. Um… it might be worth it. THEY ARE THAT GOOD!
The rest of this recipe is also pretty easy, but takes some thought: don’t overcook the veggies! I wanted crunch in my veggies — they feel healthy and fresh that way! Someone recently explained to me that we are actually programmed to identify crunch with health and freshness: which is why it’s so satisfying! So, keep some of the crunch in your veggies — don’t let them go to mush.
As for the noodles, you also want to be sure not to overcook them. Soba noodles take a little TLC, but follow this method and you’ll be totally fine. Toss them with your soy/ginger/sesame mixture they’ll be a smooth pile of heaven waiting for your veggies! I’m serious. They’re incredible! SOBA FO LIFE! Can we start a soba club? I’ll absolutely join.
With that, I leave you to enjoy eating in 2015! I’ll do my best to keep you inspired and stocked with good recipes to do just that! xoxoPrint
- 6-8 large garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 3 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp soy sauce*
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger root
- 8 oz. uncooked soba noodles
- 2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
- 2/3 cup sliced mushrooms (I used shiitake)
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds (toasted or untoasted)
- Peel the garlic cloves and slice them into thin rounds — about 1/8 to 1/16 of an inch thick. In a small saucepan, perhaps tilted to one side, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced garlic and let it sizzle and cook until golden. Remove from the oil. You may need to work in batches. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, 3 Tbsp soy, rice wine vinegar, and grated ginger. Mix and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the soba according to this method, drain, and toss with the sauce.
- In a large skillet, add 1 tsp of the oil used for the garlic. Heat over medium, and arrange the carrot chunks so they each have a flat side down. Cook for two minutes, then add 2 Tbsp of water, and cover with a lid. Cook for 3 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and let the water evaporate. Once the water is evaporated, add the remaining 2 Tbsp soy sauce and swirl around the pan. Let the carrots continue to cook until one side is a bit blackened, and they are just starting to soften (they should still have a crunch, though!).
- As the carrots are cooking, arrange the red peppers skin-side-down on a grate over your gas flame (or just in a skillet over medium-high heat). Cook, moving to evenly get all pieces, until the skin is blackening and fragrant. If you want a slightly softer pepper, add to a frying pan and sauté for 3-4- minutes.
- For the mushrooms, arrange in a single layer in a frying pan with 1 tsp oil and cook over medium heat without stirring for 3-4 minutes (at least). The underside should be golden. Then, stir and cook for another 3-4- minutes or until fully softened.
- When you are ready to serve, add a handful of each vegetable to a bowl with the coated noodles, and top with garlic chips, sesame seeds, and cilantro (optional).
If you need this to be gluten-free, use Tamari in place of soy sauce.