Archive for pasta & noodles

New Year’s Eve soba: goodbye 2014

I almost forgot to post, but for the sake of documentation, here is the soba with which we farewelled 2014.

We also finished off our Stella Bella Chardonnay (Margaret River) and joined the revelry in Northbridge Piazza. Time flies like an arrow.

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soba mixed

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Leek and mushroom pasta

Leek mushroom pasta

Here is another example of わふう パスタ (wafuu pasta)—that is, Japanese-style pasta. The possibilities are endless: see some examples here from Just Hungry. (Or Google it.)

 

To make this particular version:

Lightly saute sliced leeks, chopped mushrooms (portobello here, but could be shiitake), and canned tuna with:

  • salt (tiny bit)
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • olive oil

Boil spaghetti in water with a bit of dashi and salt.

After the pasta is *mostly* cooked, add it to the skillet in which the leeks and mushrooms have been sauteing, along with some of the dashi-flavoured water from the pasta.

Cook everything a bit more and that’s it!

 

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2013 Soba

I’m having a hard time believing that it’s already time to adieu 2013. Well, I prefer even numbers, so I’m ready to get this show on the road.

To usher out the year properly, and to wish for long (but not thick) life, we followed the Japanese tradition of eating soba on New Year’s Eve.

As usual, the soba was dressed with a nice variety of toppings: natto, mashed avocado, eggs with slightly runny yolks, raw green onions, nori seaweed cut into strips, and of course, wasabi and tsuyu (soba sauce).

Fantastic.

[UPDATE: just a note about the eggs: they’re hot springs egg style (i.e., soft yolks). The key to this is to bring water to a boil FIRST, then add the eggs and cook for seven minutes.

Also, this wine.

soba

New Year's Eve rosé

New Year’s Eve rosé

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Harusame + squash

squash-harusame

Another harusame creation!

Here are the component parts that Yusuke assembled:

  • Boiled harusame
  • Microwaved squash
  • Raw daikon (thinly sliced)
  • Raw baby spinach (well, I added that bit on my portion)

Chinese style dressing

  • Chicken broth
  • Nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Water

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Deep-fried harusame + veg

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Forgot to write up this dish from a while back. It didn’t quite come out as Yusuke expected, but I thought it was pretty cool.

There were two components: fried harusame and a veggie stir fry.

To begin with the routine side, Yusuke whipped up a typical stir fry with soy sauce and oyster sauce, featuring carrots, green onions, shrimp, and bean sprouts.

The main inspiration behind this dish, though, was an experiment with harusame.

I’ve mentioned harusame on this blog a few times before. Since it’s been several months, I’m copying in my usual description again:

So what are harusame noodles, one might ask?

The wikipedia article offers the translation “cellophane noodles,” which sounds pretty much unappetizing to me. But other descriptions are better: glass noodles, bean thread noodles, or vermicelli.

According to Wise Geek, they’re Japanese noodles made from potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, or mung bean starch.

The noodles are extremely thin and become translucent when cooked. Since they’re less dense or “doughy” than other types of noodles, they’re delightful in soup!

Harusame (春雨) means spring rain, and you can google for more pics.

We most recently bought a big pack at a nearby Chinese grocery. When it’s dry, it’s sort of nested in a pack, but not curly like instant ramen.

We don’t have a deep fryer, so Yusuke attempted his experiment in a fairly deep frying pan, pouring in a few glugs of canola oil and adding a pile of dry noodles over medium heat. He thought that more oil would’ve had a better effect, but I guess our pan wasn’t deep enough.

The harusame is hard, so as soon as it hits the hot oil, it starts to expand. When the whole tangle of noodles turned white in colour, he removed the batch and added another.

Some sections ended up rather more oily than others although he was quick with paper towels to soak up the oil. The final product, overall, had a rice cracker-like crunchiness.

After several batches were done…the giant mess happened.

In order to serve the dish, Yusuke wanted to make the finished tangle of noodles smaller. So, he put some on a plate, took a big knife, and went *SMACK* on top of the noodles. The result was a spectacular crunch action that had projectile consequences. In other words, the fried noodles shattered and debris went across the kitchen. But it still ended up nicely on our plates somehow in the end, and Yusuke arranged the veggie stir fry over the top.

Incidentally, lots of other crunchy little noodles escaped during various points of the process, so the clean up crew (moi) had lots to do!

Overall, it wasn’t perfect, but still tasty and kinda fun.

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Mushroom spaghettini

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Looks lovely, eh?

This was one of Yusuke’s weekend pasta creations.

The pasta of choice was spaghettini, imported from Italy, acquired from an Italian grocery. He cooked it to a perfect al dente.

To prepare the veggies, Yusuke started with TONS of garlic, to which he added four or so sliced portobello mushrooms and diced cherry tomatoes. Mid-way through the saute procedure, he sprinkled a tablespoon of sesame seeds into the mix.

At the end, he added the cooked pasta and tossed everything together. Last, raw green onions were added to the top!

He speculated that perhaps Italians wouldn’t recognize this as an Italian dish; instead, it’s definitely wafuu pasta—that is, Japanese style!

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Sweet potato soba

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Our fridge was nearly bare, but Yusuke pulled together a very tasty dinner nonetheless.

The main preparatory work involved making sweet potato tempura. He peeled the potato, cubed it, and coated it in katakuriko (Japanese potato starch), and then fried the pieces in canola oil.

Meanwhile, he hard boiled a couple of eggs and chopped up green onions.

The last step was to quickly cook soba noodles and then arrange the goodies on top.

We had a bottle of tsuyu (soba sauce) ready to go, so along with ginger, the dish was complete.

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Halloween pasta

Why do I call this Halloween pasta, you might ask? Well, because it sort of looks like food fit for Dracula, garlic notwithstanding.

The beets dyed everything a deep pink reminiscent of blood, the tomatoes took on a nice red glow, and the brussels sprouts became brilliantly green in contrast.

Yusuke began by sautéing minced garlic in olive oil to bring out the aroma. He added chopped tomatoes and cooked them for a while to reduce the water. He also added a pinch or two of sea salt at the same time.

Next came sliced (fresh from the earth!) beets and (fresh from the earth!) brussels sprouts and let it all cook until soft. He seasoned the melange with pepper and a bit more sea salt and served it over pasta.

We looked suspiciously vampiresque with the traces of beet juice on our lips… Gross colour, perhaps, but great taste and fantastic viz. vitamins.

P.S. I learned this very morning that those funny round veggies are “brussels sprouts” rather than “brussel sprouts.” Who knew? Maybe I’ll stick with chou de bruxelles.

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Spicy harusame

Now this was a good one. I’m totally a fan of harusame, with its noodley lightness. Here, Yusuke incorporated it in a stir fry.

The veggies were cooked first, sautéed in with ginger, fresh garlic, and canola oil:

  • string beans (rather more yellow than green
  • carrots
  • green peppers

All from the CSA basket, naturally.

The pre-boiled harusame was added next, plus a “soup” of:

  • 1 cup of (weak) chicken broth
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp tenmenjan (sweet bean paste)
  • 1 tsp tobanjan (spicy chili paste)

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Harusame salad

Perfect salad for summer. The base is lettuce, although I’m not sure of the variety. Is it just “leaf lettuce”?

The salad also includes fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. The star of the night, though, was harusame. I blogged about these lovely noodles before. And for your convenience, I’ve copied over my past description!

So what are harusame noodles, one might ask?

The wikipedia article offers the translation “cellophane noodles,” which sounds pretty much unappetizing to me. But other descriptions are better: glass noodles, bean thread noodles, or vermicelli.

According to Wise Geek, they’re Japanese noodles made from potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, or mung bean starch.

The noodles are extremely thin and become translucent when cooked. Since they’re less dense or “doughy” than other types of noodles, they’re delightful in soup!

Harusame (春雨) means spring rain, and you can google for more pics.

Harusame can be found in most Japanese or Korean grocery stories, but my mum-in-law sent our stock. Very light to ship!

The dressing for the salad was sesame oil, soy sauce, and vinegar (well, possibly…notes lost). Yusuke also mixed mayonnaise into his serving.

Definitely a CSA basket highlight.

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