green tea & miso broth over soba noodles

this was one of those ‘the-cabinets-seem-really-bare-what-will-we-make-for-dinner?' recipes.  the agreement was: dylan makes the noodles and the salad and i would finish it up.  i arrived in the kitchen 10 minutes later to a bowl of soba noodles doused in Ume plum vinegar, a pile of sliced red onion, half a dry chili pepper and an undressed green salad.  what followed was an inspiration to be named green tea & miso broth over soba noodles.

i like to use Astragulus and Codonopsis (chinese herbs of wide repute) in my winter soups as they provide only mild flavor, yet pack an amazing nutritional and immune-enhancing punch.  though available at some health stores, i usually buy Astragalus, Codonopsis and green tea from Ben over at the Botanical Preservation Corps.

2 bundles soba noodles -if you haven't tried the buckwheat variety, i do suggest you do so!

ume plum vinegar

1 tsp green tea -silver sprout, sencha or gunpowder would work well*

1 Tbl codonopsis root chunks

1 small strip astragalus

3-5 shitake mushrooms -chopped

1 hot tree chili dry or fresh -sliced in rounds, remove seeds

1 inch fresh ginger -peel and grate

1 Tbl dried seaweed (wakame, arame, dulse) -chopped

1 Tbl raw coconut oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 cup sliced red onion

1 Tbl pumpkin seeds

1 clove garlic -diced

1 Tbl aged barley miso

Cook soba noodles according to the directions, stain then rinse briefly w/ cold water and strain again.  transfer noodles to a large serving bowl, douse w/ Ume plum vinegar and set aside.

Heat four cups of water to almost boiling.  pour into a bowl w/ green tea and seep at least one minute, not longer than two and strain tea back into the pot.  add Codonopsis,  Astragalus, Shitake mushrooms, chili pepper, seaweed and ginger.  heat over a medium heat (while working on the rest of the recipe, keep an eye not to boil the broth).


Meanwhile, heat a small pan to a med-high heat.  add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and cumin seeds.  with a swish of the wrist, twirl the oil in the pan to cover the cumin seeds and coat the bottom of the pan.  add onions, and pumpkin seeds.  continue to saute at med-high heat, stirring often.  when the onions and pumpkin seeds have lightly browned (at this high of a heat it will only take 1-2 minutes, you still want them al dente) dump on top of noodles.  add the diced garlic to the pile.

Back to the stove.  strain 1/4 cup of broth into a little bowl, set aside and  let cool while straining the rest of the broth into the bowl w/ noodles, garlic and saute mixture.  add miso to the little bowl and stir well to incorporate -i like to use a fork and mash up the miso in the liquid.  stir the noodles and the broth, add the miso mixture, stir again and serve immediately.

this dish serves 2-3 as a main course, 4-6 as a side dish or appetizer

*to reduce caffeine content of green tea while still reaping the flavor and antioxidant benefits, throw out the first brew:  heat 1 cup water to just before boiling, pour over green tea leaves, seeping only 1 minute before straining.  discard tea, reserve the leaves.  when you go to make the broth, use these leaves and follow the rest of the directions.