so-good-soba Recipes

spicy soba noodles with shiitakes

Alex has been narrowing his eyes at my ever-growing periodicals stack lately, and I don’t blame him. How did someone whose life so fully revolves around the Web end up with so many subscriptions to print magazines? Hint: I am only paying for one of them. Hint: Most of them are available ink-free on the Web.

That said, he has a point. When you’ve got (at best) 660 square feet of floor area, and (at best) 20 square feet of table/counter area, it is less than ideal to give up any of it to dead tree media. So, I finally caved, or more like focused my attention span long enough to quickly breeze through pages this weekend, and Gourmet? I’m sorry. I hope the sixteen pages I bookmarked over three issues will compensate for my allowing you to collect a thin layer of dust. Your photography still makes me whimper with envy.

udon and edamame, draining

And the thought of those soba noodles with cabbage, shiitake and edamame in the fridge makes my stomach grumble with disappointment that I left it at home today. Though it was not exactly the 30-minute main they promised–though the fact that I was making/snacking on bean dip and Scrubs was on might have prolonged the prep portion of the meal–it was the kind of spectacularly easy thing that can really make the difference between Tofu Pad Thai in a little white box and something you actually can monitor the ingredients of on a Monday night.

sauteed napa cabbage and shiitakes

It also helps that I really love the combination of mushrooms, edamame and cabbage with noodles. I replaced the Korean chili paste with Thai chili-garlic paste because that was what we had on hand, thus I can’t attest to whether a tablespoon of the former would be way too much for a spice-moderate palette. The level of Thai chili paste was perfect.

The only thing I’d change next time is to add a splash of dark-toasted sesame seed oil to round out the acidity. I won’t go as far to call this THE soba dish I will come back to time and again, but for a Monday night dinner with leftovers you still crave on Thursday, it’s not bad at all. Oh, and July/August/September Gourmets? We’re just getting started.

cold soba noodles

Aww: I want to thank everyone for their sweet and smooshy comments on the anniversary post. I love the fact that the internet will come out and celebrate our anniversary with us… Group hug! What is completely unfair is that you were unable to join us for the seriously, ridiculously good dinner at Gramercy Tavern. The vegetable tasting menu made my year. I am not sad, however, that I don’t get to share my new earrings with you.

Serious Eats: In The Myth of French Golden Arches Revulsion, I question the idea that only Americans love fast food.

One year ago: Roasted Garlic Soup with Parmesan Cheese

Spicy Soba Noodles with Shiitakes and Cabbage
Adapted from Gourmet August 2007

Makes 4 servings

For sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons Korean hot-pepper paste (sometimes labeled “gochujang”)
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

For noodles
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
10 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 1/4 pound Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (8 cups)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
8 to 9 ounces soba (buckwheat noodles)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame

Stir together all sauce ingredients until brown sugar is dissolved, then set aside.

Toast sesame seeds in a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat, stirring, until pale golden, then transfer to a small bowl.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then saute ginger and garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shiitakes and saute, stirring frequently, until tender and starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, then add cabbage and most of scallions (reserve about a tablespoon for garnish) and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Add sauce and simmer 2 minutes.

While cabbage is cooking, cook soba and edamame together in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until noodles are just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cool water to stop cooking and remove excess starch, then drain well again. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with sesame seeds and vegetable mixture. Serve sprinkled with reserved scallions.

Epicurious’ note: If you aren’t able to find Korean hot-pepper paste, substitute 3/4 teaspoon Chinese chile paste and reduce the amount of soy sauce to 1/4 cup.

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60 comments on spicy soba noodles with shiitakes

  1. I just had delicious cold sesame noodles for lunch and decided it was time to use my remaining bundles of soba noodles this weekend. Now I don’t even have to search for a recipe…many thanks for staying a step ahead and congrats on the anniversary. I love your site, writing, photos and of course… your recipes.

  2. I had that recipe earmarked, too, and also haven’t gotten around to making half the things I want to make from my recent magazine purchases. I guess I’m in good company. I really like the pic of the noodles and edamame in the colander. I keep scrolling back up to look at it. I think it’s the squiggles and the colors. Too pretty.

  3. It must be soba noodle week or something because I made a variation of this last night after reading this blog post: Cold Soba Noodles and because it’s been unusually hot out here–the other night being too hot to even boil water. I would definitely include some sesame oil; it adds nice texture (and flavor) to the dish. I included some summer squash and tofu as well.

    Chow posted a version of this dish: Cold Sesame Noodle Salad with Tofu which looks yummy but the idea of sauteing something last night was shuddering :)

  4. I’ve never cooked with Soba myself before, but it has this lingering and mysterious attraction for me. Your recipes are seriously tempting me to get in the game. Fun website, and congrats on your anniversary (my husband and I just celebrated our 2 year last week too)

  5. Mmm…the soba looks delicious!

    And I finally (almost three years after dating) got to meet one of my boyfriend’s best college friends this weekend and the highlight? The bf’s bcf’s (Jeez) fiancee totally made out with Zach Braff in high school. Oh, New Jersey how I love you!

  6. Yeah, more about the earrings! Pictures would be lovely. Please tell me they came in a beautiful little blue box…

    Also, I have started rereading the archives again – it’s fun to remember the drama!

  7. Seriously, How much do I love soba noodles? How much do I love edamame? How much do I love (love, love) shredded Napa cabbage? How could this recipe be anything but divine?

  8. Yummy yummy yummy. Edamame is my very favorite thing. What gorgous colors in that photo. I can’t wait to make this one. Every recipe that you’ve posted and I’ve made has been delish! Danke.

  9. I love anything soba … I eat buckwheat soba often because it’s so quick and good for you. And I agree about Gourmet’s photography … makes me want to go back to school. (And boy is THAT saying a lot!)

  10. I totally love the Internet, but I wouldn’t give up even one of our far too many magazine subscriptions. There’s just something so cozy and comforting about flipping through a magazine’s pages. You’re also likely to see things you wouldn’t necessarily click through to on a magazine’s website. Things that can take you in unexpected directions.

    And speaking of loving the Internet, it has touched our lives in so many cool, positive ways. We’ve made numerous friends, both e-friends and actual in-the-flesh ones, online. We’ve been houseguests in a fabulous Paris apartment. My wife found a whole new career through an Internet connection. And we found our latest wonderful apartment on Craigslist.

    So don’t be ashamed about how you and Alex met—wear it proudly as a badge of your modernity. And belated congratulations to the two of you! Best wishes for many happy years to come.

    My wife and I met in an elevator when she was moving into the building where I lived, by the way. So however it happens, so long as it happens.

  11. ok so like italian is my favorite and i live for pasta BUT sometimes you just gotta veer and this sounds like the perfect way to go… it’s in my queue…

  12. Yum, soba! This might actually make me make my own, although I have way too many good noodle places close by.

    In regard to the whole McDonalds thing – did you see the “Anti Americans” episode of PBS’ “America at a Crossroads” this week? There were some fairly annoying (and by the way, not slender) French women acting as if McDonalds was the American national food/dish! (rather than a food corporation) I have yet to travel to France, but having been recently in Dublin, the McDonalds there was always packed, and not with Americans. I myself don’t eat there – no one I know does. I was stunned that someone would choose to eat there.

  13. Soba is so good especially in the summer. My mother makes a variation of cold soba salad with water cress — pepper-like flavor and the soba’s mildness goes together very well. She also puts crabsticks (fake ones are just fine), finely cut thin egg omlets, slow simmered flavored shiitake to name a few toppings.

  14. I tried this recipe last night and loved it! I will definitely make it again.
    Your bean dip recipe also looks so yummy, I’ll put it on the to-make list for sure. Thanks for all the great food-blogging :D

  15. this is a mainstay summer recipe in korean households (sans edamame which i suspect tends to fall to the bottom and collect in the bowl as you eat it). i whip this up all the time. if you’re a fan of kimchi, about a half cup or cup of sliced kimchi gives it another added dimension. shredded carrots and cucumbers also give it a refreshing crunch!

    the difference between the thai chilli sauce and korean chilli paste is mainly that the former is saltier and the latter a bit sweet. the thai stuff is probably spicier too. korean chilli paste tends to be more bark than bite.

    but yummy either way.

  16. I made this last night, just like the recipe but with less cabbage. I know cabbage cooks down significantly, but EIGHT CUPS?!? Yikes.

    …and then of course I loved loved LOVED the noodles but thought they could have used more cabbage. hehe. ;)

    Next time, I’m totally trusting your recipes. :)

  17. hmm. thanks to my csa, i have red cabbage AND savoy cabbage in my fridge, but no napa cabbage. i’m assuming savoy would work better than red?

  18. I clicked through from Everyday Food’s “Dinner Tonight” blog, and I’m so happy I did! Yours is my new favorite recipe resource–I’ve pulled a bunch of new ideas from your archives that I’m eager to try. So, since I too am always looking for *the* soba noodle recipe, I tried this one and had great results. I followed the recipe to a tee (with the small substitution of Chinese chile paste @ the reduced amt of 1 tsp, per the instructions). It was lovely! A savory, subtly spicy sauce with lots of delicious veg bang for the buck. And besides the fresh vegetables, these are things I usually have in the pantry. I have a feeling this will end up in the permanent rotation. Now, on to the Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake… (And thank you for the fantastic new recipes.)

  19. wow, i just made this and well….wow. i love soba noodles for any reason, usually doing a peanut sauce, but this is wonderful. all the textures and shapes, maybe we could add a little minced red pepper for added dash of colour, but flavorwise it’s a winner. i made the whole batch and it’s just me here this weekend, i don’t think it will last for long, i love it. thanks.

  20. Oops– also, I used a Thai chili-garlic paste in lieu of the Korean paste, since that’s what I had in my fridge. Worked great.

  21. #34 thb – I buy frozen edamame that has already been shelled. My grocery store tends to carry both a shelled version, and a whole pod version. I’d say it’s easier to buy the frozen stuff that’s already shelled, but if that’s not an option you may as well defrost the whole stuff and shell it yourself. Using thawed edamame shouldn’t change the cooking drastically.

  22. Have you ever found a Pad Thai recipe that you can make at home and doesn’t take all night? I’d love to make it at home but nothing seems to compare to what I can find at Thai restaurants…

  23. I didn’t have the mushrooms and edamame. I improvised on the sauce with soy sauce, water and some other spices.

    But it still tasted sooooooo goood!!!!!!!!!! and it’s healthy. This one is a keeper. I loved it. I just have to get faster at prepping all it’s ingredients as I get used to the dish.

  24. Just made this and I love it even though I am not even a big fan of soba noodles!
    I didn’t have cabbage so I used spinach instead but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Quick, delicious and healthy…I will surely be making this often from now on!

  25. My husband and I really loved this quick noodle dish. We recently switched to whole wheat and buckwheat noodles instead of the spaghetti noodles. Finding your recipe was a blessing. We used the spicy paste ( Chinese ) and less soy as mentioned. Thanks so much for posting this recipe!

    Cheers!
    Patty Lin

  26. I love this dish! The original ercipe was too ginger-y for my tastes, so I halved the ginger and doubled the garlic. I have used the korean hot pepper paste and it works perfectly in the recipe, but have also substituted different but similar sauces when I can’t find it and played around with the soy and sugar additions with very good results. Definitely one of my go-to noodle recipes!

  27. Made this tonight with my boyfriend and it was delicious!!! We added cut up skirt steak and some Sriracha sauce at the end and it was simply amazing. Whole Foods ran out of soba noodles so we used vermicelli. It was just as good and probably not quite as healthy as the buckwheat would have been. Thanks, Deb!

  28. We made this tonight and absolutely loved it! We followed the recipe exactly except we used green cabbage instead of Napa, thinly sliced button mushrooms instead of shitakes, and since we couldn’t find the Korean hot pepper paste, we just followed the directions to lower the amount of soy sauce and added 2-3 teaspoons of Sriracha sauce to the rest of the sauce ingredients. Delicious! We will definitely make this again.

  29. I made this recipe last night and found that the cabbage let out a tremendous amount of liquid, at least 1 cup. I had to drain it so as to not overcook the cabbage. Did anyone else encounter this?

  30. Made this for the 1st time and will definitely repeat! Thanks to those who posted alts to the Korean hot pepper paste b/c I was unable to find it. Regarding liquid — the cabbage and mushrooms both added liquid (didn’t notice how much). I didn’t mind b/c it made for a warm brothy dish, which is ok in wintertime…

  31. This was the second dish I’ve made from this website and it was exactly what I was looking for! It was incredibly tasty. I’d never had soba noodles before and this was a great introduction. Very easy to make. I omitted the mushrooms, since I don’t like them, and made everything else the same. Great recipe!!

  32. just a shout out to say thanks for the beautiful photos and instructions. Can’t wait to try this one. I’ll comment again once I do. Kudos!

  33. I’ve been making this dish for a while and finally decided to post and let you know how much I LOVE it!!!! (and your blog, of course). I made this tonight for a work get together/study group and my local store had run out of soba noodles, so I used brown rice maifun (sp?) instead… the really thin rice noodles. It came out great! Less flavor than the soba noodles offer, but still yummy. I also add rice vinegar to the sauce and totally omit the water. The napa and mushrooms let off a fair bit of water so I don’t see the need to add more. Thank you for a quick weeknight dish that has friends offering rave reviews… perfect!

  34. I, too, wanted to crave a dinner I made for lunch three days later, so made this on Tuesday night. It’s Thursday now and it’s been my lunch the past two days and likely tomorrow as well. My dish turned out a little too salty the first time, so I just made more noodles and tossed it with the original batch to round it out. I didn’t have either types of chili paste so used a homemade batch of chili paste my aunt made for me. Thank you! <3 soba.

  35. Thank you for this simply delicious recipe! Instead of using shiitake mushrooms since they can be quite expensive at the store, I used a local wild mushroom the chanterelle. My friend had picked them and gave them to me, I was excited to put them to good use. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with this dish thank you!!

  36. I love the texture of the soba noodle. I tried them with soup before and it was delicious. This receipt seems to be delicious dish too and I can’t wait to try it. The ingredients are so asian like the cabbage, shiitake and edamame but so what! these are my favorites. Especially the edamame, sometimes I just boiled them and can eat like whole pack of it. And this receipt is so good for Summer time and healthy food.

  37. Love soba and all things Asian so couldn’t wait to try this recipe. Of course, this evening I found myself with no mushrooms, no green onions, no edamame and no chinese cabbage. Made it with just red cabbage and red onion instead (and the gorgeous chili sauce mix and sesame seeds) – purple and gorgeous!

  38. Made this for dinner, because I had CSA napa cabbage to use up. It almost disappears in this dish so you can use a lot! Also subbed (CSA) shell peas for edamame and added tofu. Oh, and I didn’t want to buy extra vegetables because I am already overwhelmed with summer bounty, so I soaked some dried mushrooms, chopped them, and added them before the scallions and cabbage. Amazingly delicious!