Dinner in minutes with Soba noodles
THESE days, thanks to emails and the like, receiving any kind of snail mail is pretty exciting.
Recently it got even better with a big parcel landing on my desk at work.
I wasn't expecting anything so I was intrigued but could not have been more surprised when I opened the box to find a few bunches of asparagus.
Fortunately I love the stuff and had actually already planned a recipe using it.
Growing up, we only ever ate it out of the jar or tin and I can't tell you how much I dislike that.
So it wasn't until I hit my 20s I actually discovered how amazing fresh asparagus can be.
It's one of my favourite spring- time vegetables.
My little parcel got my fellow staff members talking about how we like to eat our asparagus.
I can personally eat it raw but also like it blanched and drizzled with minced garlic sautéed in butter.
One colleague swears by his dressing - almost an egg-free mayonnaise.
He combines olive oil, mustard, minced garlic, lemon juice and parsley and stirs until it is emulsified.
The one rule I have when it comes to asparagus is undercooked is better than over- cooked.
Soba noodles are also a favourite of mine because they take only minutes to cook.
The Japanese ingredient is great for both hot and cold salads but if you are going to go with the cold salad, make sure the noodles are coated with a little oil so they don't stick together.
Like any of these easy-to-throw- together recipes, you can always substitute other vegetables and herbs, depending on what's in the fridge.
Soba noodles with asparagus
2 chicken fillets
5cm piece of ginger, grated roughly
1 star anise
1 litre chicken stock
270g (1 packet) of soba noodles
1 carrot, julienned
10 green beans, cut in half, lengthways
8 spears of baby asparagus
¼ cup coriander
Snow pea sprouts to garnish
Half a cup of light soy sauce
3 tbs seasame oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp of ginger grated very finely
1 clove garlic minced
In a saucepan, cover chicken with cold stock, adding water if needed to make sure all of the meat is covered.
Add star anise and ginger to the pot. Bring to boil and poach for about 5 minutes. Set aside and allow to rest.
Cook soba noodles in boiling water for about 4 minutes. Strain.
Meanwhile, bring another saucepan of water to the boil and add carrots. Blanch for 30 seconds.
Add beans and asparagus and blanch for a further minute. Strain.
To make sauce, combine all of the ingredients and stir briskly.
Shred chicken, and mix it and the vegetables and coriander through the noodles.
Pour dressing over the noodles and garnish with snow pea sprouts.