Yasai Yaki Soba: Japanese Noodle Extraordinaire

Photo by kevinv033

There's nothing like a good bowl of noodles. A recipe for delicious, colorful noodles is invaluable: they're great hot and better cold -- you can serve them as a meal, but they're a perfect late night snack, straight from the fridge. These Japanese noodles would be great with grilled chicken or shrimp, but in keeping with the "yasai" (vegetable) theme, here's the meatless version. Serve them in big bowls with cold beer or sake. In my house, there's a mandate on saving some for the next day, they're somehow even better leftover. Enjoy!

Yaki Soba, adapted from The Wagamama Cookbook
For the noodles
1 package soba noodles
1 bell pepper, red, orange, or yellow
1/2 large yellow onion
Snap peas
Bean sprouts
Ginger root, peeled and grated
Sesame seeds
Vegetable oil

For the sauce
1.5 cups soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar

In a small pot, combine the soy sauce and sugar on low heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce starts to simmer (about 10 minutes). Let the sauce simmer for about two minutes and then remove from the heat.

While the sauce is heating up, put water on to boil, and cut the vegetables. Cut the onion in half, and then into thin half moon strips. Cut the pepper into thin pieces, as close to the size of the onions as possible. Cut the snap peas in half horizontally, so that they're bite sized.

When the sauce is done heating, put the vegetables in a bowl and pour some of the sauce over them, enough to coat the vegetables and then some, so that they can marinate.

Add the soba noodles to the boiling water and let cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the noodles are just barely done -- al dente. Strain the noodles and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Heat a large wok, until a drop of water skitters across the surface. Turn the heat down to medium and add enough vegetable oil to coat the surface. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft.

Add in the noodles in handfuls. Use a spoon to add sauce as you add noodles so that they're coated brown. You can taste as you go along so that the noodles are as seasoned as you want. When all the noodles and sauce are in the wok, stir everything together, add grated ginger to taste (about a tablespoon), and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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