Thursday, April 27, 2006

Zaru Soba

Cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey calls zaru soba -- cold buckwheat noodles -- "one of the joys of a Japanese summer". I love her description of slurping icy soba noodles on a shady bridge over a mountain stream in Kyoto.

Jaffrey's recipe for zaru soba and homemade dipping sauce (made from shiitake mushroom broth, soy sauce and mirin) appears in her breathtakingly good book World Vegetarian.Traditionally, the cool buckwheat noodles are scattered with bits of nori seaweed and served with a bowl of sauce on the side. Diners season the dipping sauce with wasabi, daikon, etc., and the noodles are dipped and eaten. For the lunch box I put the sauce in a tiny container and shmoo poured it over the noodles instead.

On the side are edamame and daikon namasu (chilled giant radish and carrot salad), a recipe from Japanese Vegetarian Cooking.For dessert, an Asian pear.

Oh, and gluten-free readers take note: although I used noodles made from wheat and buckwheat, I noticed that Eden Foods makes gluten-free buckwheat noodles.

Verdict: Shmoo wasn't too keen on the daikon (don't listen to him, the salad was fantastic -- the best daikon dish I've ever eaten). Shmoo loves these noodles so much he wants to know if we'll take him to Japan for his birthday. Um, I'm afraid that's a little over our birthday budget for this year. But I can make more zaru soba! 5 stars.

48 comments:

Nyanko said...

Thank you SO much for the link to the Japanese Vegetarian Cooking book! I didn't even think that one existed!

I didn't like daikon raw either, then my mom started cooking it in soysauce until it was tender (just a bit with water, so it's not salty). Then I really liked it :)

Thanks again!
Nyanko

P.S. I think your blog is so cool!

OshinkoTickle said...

I have "Japanese Vegetarian Cooking" on backorder from Amazon.com! My fiance ordered it for me for Valentine's Day and it STILL isn't here! :-( I can't wait for it to finally arrive!

Emily said...

Wow, that looks amazing. I checked out World Veg from the library a few months ago and I think I picked the wrong recipes to try because after a few that were literally inedible, I took it back. Now I'm thinking I need to check it out again! I think my first problem was trying a Mexican recipe from an Indian Vegetarian.... but I did use her chapati recipe, and those were very tasty.

Anyway, I am hungry and haven't started dinner yet, so I need to stop gazing at your wonderful food!! Seeing that edamame makes me want to get some and try the edamame and white bean dip in Cooking Light this month.

SusanV said...

Cold soba and edamame is one of my daughter's favorite meals--and she wants to go to Japan, too. Hmmm...how old did you say shmoo is? ;-)

And Madhur Jaffrey is one of my idols. The scope of World Vegetarian and (one of my favorite cookbooks of all time) World of the East Vegetarian Cooking is incredible. I'm on my second copy of that one, having completely worn out the first.

Emily said...

I got that book for my birthday and even though I was really excited about it, I haven't made much from it. I have a hard time with the organization of it. I'm never sure what I want to eat and it's hard to flip through and just find meals appropriate for a dinner since they are all mixed together. Do you have any other recommended meals?

vegmom3boys said...

Sorry if this posts twice. I wasn't sure how to sign up so I can post, and now I'm retyping. Hope it works now. Jennifer, your meals always look so amazing! We tried the caramelized tofu last night and it was fantastic! I have a totally unrelated question though. My son wants to play baseball this summer and I want to get him a vegan glove. I've googled to no avail. I thought being a vegan mom you may know of such a place that sells children sized nonleather gloves. If so, please enlighten me, or if any other readers know, that would be great too. Thanks so much, and thanks for all the inspiring recipes!
Laura

Muse said...

Thanks for the posting of the link to the Vegetarian Japanese Cookbook. I bought it used (either Amazon or half.com, can't remember where), so others who are interested, do the same! Unless it's for a gift, and unless you really mind that it's used... check out these sites :)
I haven't made anything from the book yet, but I also am in love w/ Japanese cooking. I also bought a vegan book for the slow cooker... some neat recipes in this, too. Also bought used. (I rarely buy any books new; I either get them from the library to preview them, and then buy them used, or, if it's *that* important to me, then I just buy them from half.com or elsewhere).

Muse said...
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Muse said...

veganmom3boys:
I googled "vegan sporting goods" and came up with the following:

veganmom3boys: if you'd googled "vegan sporting equipment", you would have come up with the following:
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/leather.htm#Baseball

Enjoy :)

vegmom3boys said...

Thank you. I had found that too. It just seemed that the Rawlings thing was a dead end, and the other one (Heartland I think) was bigger sizes. He's only five. I did just now find one at Target online. I'm not sure if it's meant for real play though, and it's online only. Thanks for your help, Muse.
Laura

Lori said...

vegmom3boys--Laura, You can get vinyl baseball mitts for children at Target and Walmart in their sporting goods sections. Not entirely sure if they are completely vegan (they may have leather/suede laces? I don't remember), but I do know that they make vinyl mitts with vinyl laces for kids......

vegmom3boys said...

Thanks Lori! That's great. I'll take him there to look for one.
Laura

DDawnC said...

Those soba noodles and sauce look YUMMY, and Asian pears are one of my favorite fruits! I am embarrassed to admit that I've never purchased any form of edamame because I don't know how best to use them. So far, I've only seen them in the frozen veggies section. Where did you get those in the pic, Jennifer? AND, what about roasted, salted edamame? I'd appreciate anyone cluing me in. :)

Taleia said...

I have a dumb question: How does one 'properly' eat edaname? I bought a package of the pods precooked but couldn't get past the stringy pod, so I've been shelling them and eating the actual soybeans... kind of like peanuts. Btw, I love them! But it seems like a great deal of work/packaging for just the seeds. Or maybe not. Maybe I'm just nuts. Are the edaname more tender when cooked right away, or what?!? Also, how expensive are they in your area? I bought a 1"x6"x8" container for about $3.00, which seemed reasonable to me, but my mom swears that that's "an expensive food". Comments?

Jeenuh said...

i demand a sicily lunchbox complete with mini, veganized cannoli!

:drool:

vegineer said...

this reminded me how much i love edamame. they're great boiled in their shells, in lightly salted water. then just drain and eat by hand! i could seriously go through a whole package at one sitting.

vegineer said...

btw taleia:

you're right, the pods/shells are pretty tough to eat. i don't think they're actually edible. you're right, just eat the beans themselves!

jessica said...

this lunch looks absolutely delicious!! i was amused by little shmoo's bithday request. i turn 22 tomorrow and i don't think my parents would go for a request like that either!

amazing as always.

how close is the end of the school year? would it be possible to send shmoo to summer school? :) shhh don't tell him i asked that.

Asia said...

I love edamame, I mainly discard the pods though they are edible(my father-person likes them). It's often just fun to hold the pod up to your mouth and pop the beans out into your mouth. Yum.
Also love daikon! Soba(my favorite noodle)! Asian pears! Yum! <3 <3 <3

VLyandra said...

To prepare edamame-- boil in lightly salted water until just tender. Sprinkle with salt. Eat the seeds out of the pods. The pods won't kill you, but they aren't very good, either.

I buy edamame in bags, frozen, from Asian markets. It's not an expensive food by any means-- a dollar or two for a bag, which easily serves a family of three.

I've never been a big soba fan-- I've always liked udon noodles better. (I take after my mom for this, I guess.) You can do zaru udon too in the same fashion as zaru soba. It's fantastic. =)

Christina said...

Thanks for the gluten-free tip! Us celiac gals (and guys) need all the help we can get!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Do you have any other recommended meals? (from World Vegetarian)

Hi, emily! Everything I've made from her book has been spectacular. Esp. all the bean and lentil dishes, all the spinach dishes, her puree of zucchini, the polenta with mushroom and potato stew, the Palestinian rice with lentils and onions (double the onions!), and all her flatbreads.

In terms of planning an entire meal, I once hosted a Trinidadian dinner party and made her Black-Eyed Peas with Trinidadian Seasonings, Spinach Bhaji (pg. 230...for some reason it's not in the index in my copy), rice, and sauteed yellow plantains.

EatPeacePlease said...

That is super-cute, "Japan for my birthday"!

Great lunch and I like the theme and colors.

Jeanne said...

Thanks for the gluten-free note! Actually, I already knew about the buckwheat noodles, but it's nice to know someone's thinking of us :). We eat them with a soy butter (instead of peanut butter because my daughter's allergic to peanuts) sauce that is to die for. And, you are right about the daikon radish--it's a must.

shinyruby said...

i am amazed at how wide and varied little shmoo's palate is, well done for bringing him up to try and be accepting of all different flavours!

Abby said...

I don't know what impresses me more, the fact that your 1st grader has such a diverse palate, or the fact that he seems to know his way around the kitchen!!! We have a seven year old daughter, and we cook together, but not like you and your son.

I'm so glad I found your blog. I can't wait for your cookbook to be published! I'm not vegan, but I'm going to purchase a copy for myself and one for my vegan SIL & her family. Thanks again!

Brooke said...

I have never had a daikon radish, but love edamame. I made some for my kids (3,7) the other day and they happily enjoyed them....yay!

Julia said...

Hi Jennifer,
your blog's just great! It inspires me a lot in making nicer lunchboxes for my husband,and I bought this great laptop-bentobox,too. Now he even starts complaining that he's eating too much and that he already gained two kilos...
By the way, I am reading your blog from Northern Japan, so if you change your mind concerning Shmoo's birthday, you have already a place to stay here!
Best,
Julia

lucy said...

Wow, thank you so much for these good ideas! I have been reading the book 'Japanese Women don't get Old or Fat' (not actually a veg*n book but some of the recipes are) and feeling inspired to try more Japanese foods. Yours sound manageable :)

Lucy
home ed diary

Vegetarian Cooker said...

I've found good ideas for vegan food. I'm going to try it soon...

And I want to learn more about Japanese food because I like vegetarian miso soup!

Vegetarian Cooker said...
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CeeVeg said...

I wish we had more access to Japanese food items - I'd have miso and rice for breakfast, noodles for lunch, and a big salad with more miso soup and veg sushi for dinner. Sadly, it's difficult to even find nori and miso paste around here. Still... there is internet shopping...

Vegan_1 said...

I have a question about the carmelized tofu. I tried making it but it didn't come out like yours. The soy sauce/sugar mixture didn't adhere to the tofu. Do you make a lot of that mixture so that the tofu is soaking in it? I had used a non stick frying pan with some oil to fry the tofu and when it turned crisp I added the soy sauce mixture. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks so much for continuing to post your creative ideas.

R2K said...

Soba noodles are great :)

R2K

Melody said...

Jennifer, are you looking for a publisher? B/c I work for a rather large one, and we have a big culinary program. It's not the part of the business I work in, but I could definitely introduce you to some folks. In fact, I'd love to b/c the sooner your cookbook comes out, the better. E-mail me at mlayne@wiley.com.

Ms. Ms. said...

Cool! I have a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook and have been intimidated but her more unsual ingredients... THanks for inspiring me to have a good look through it!!

vegmom3boys said...

Vegan_1, I made the caramelized tofu the other night, and did use a lot of sauce. That may have been your issue. Jennifer gives the actual proportions in the comments for that meal. I used 2 pkgs. of tofu, so I doubled it, and it made a liquidy sauce that I simmered the tofu in. It was delicious! Hope it works out for you.
Laura

KaiVegan said...

Oh, I love that lil Shmoo wants to go to Japan for his birthday!

Wide Lawns Subservient Worker said...

When I made the caramelized tofu yesterday (I dont know where my comment about it went!). I fried the tofu, then I took it out of the pan, wiped the oil out of pan while the tofu drained on a towel, and made the glaze by itself. Once it had gotten syrupy I added the tofu pieces and it stuck really well. I also added some sesame oil and a little ginger and chili oil to spice it up. It was wonderful!

jkl said...

Hi Jennifer,

I found out about your website from the discussion board at weight watchers online, of all places. I have three kids ages 6, 4 and 8 mos. I wanted to put aside my petty jealousies at your having started a pretty amazing blog to recommend our favorite dishes from World Vegetarian, a cookbook I use often. They are the chickpea stew (mashed up and served in a pita), fireman's soup (I serve it with sweet potato biscuits), the cornbread with sesame seeds, and the carrots with mustard seeds (I make this on falafel nights--the four year old eats it but the six year old won't). We adults also like the red kidney bean stew (with extra peanut butter) and the baked giant white limas, although the kids don't. All of these recipes are vegan except the cornbread. I usually use soymilk when making this but you would have to find a substitute for the eggs. But it's worth the effort for the opportunity to get extra veggies into small kids, since the recipe uses a couple of grated carrots as well. Recently I started making this as muffins instead and for some reason the consumption rate improved dramatically!

Thanks,

Jennifer too

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Jennifer, thanks! Aren't those baked giant lima beans are the BEST? We make a double batch and bake them in a 12" cast iron skillet.

Elena said...

I'm so glad Schmoo loves Japanese food. It took me way too long to figure out how good it is.

Another good book to check out is "Japanese Cooking Contemporary and Traditional: Simple, Delicious, and Vegan" by Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner.

I also really love "Three Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery" by Seppo Ed Farrey and Nancy O'Hara. Many of the recipes are vegan.

Mrs. Carlson said...

Wow! This comment list is fabulous! So glad that the "angry" people are gone.... Did want to confirm that I had actually just seend something about vegan baseball mitts and balls being sold about Target in a recent magazine (maybe VT). Anyhoo, I also want to say that I usually buy the shelled edamame (frozen), so I don't have to do any work and you get more for your money, since you're not paying for the weight of the pods! Last, I am very excited about the World Vegetarian book, as I saw it in Border's and have been itching to purchase it (but I'm watching my spending at the moment). But it will definitely be the next book I get!

Fran said...

The 1982 version of Louise Hagler's Tofu Cookery has a recipe for vegan connoli--been meaning to try it for ages but I haven't got the connoli forms. Gonna see about getting them (think they can be mail-ordered), though I'd probably bake the shells rather than fry them.

Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking does have great recipes--it's not all vegan but the nonvegan recipes can be veganized. I particularly love her congee and her cold noodles with sesame sauce, and have made both many times!

Mouse H. said...

Hi Jennifer,

I got World Vegetarian out of the library and am excited to try making zaru soba, except I can't find the recipe in it! Do you recall what it is listed under or which page it is on?

P.S. I ADORE your website and your vegan lunches.

-Phoebe

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Phoebe! It's in the Index as "buckwheat noodles, cold" (pg. 330 in my copy), but not as "zaru soba". Sorry for the confusion.

Mouse H. said...

Thanks! I can't wait to make it. :)

red said...

thank you



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