I had planned on making a nice hearty braised dish today, something along the lines of chicken adobo or Country Captain. Then I stepped outside to do grocery shopping and got hit with the fact that it was almost 60 degrees. Spring! Was it here for good, or is this just another tease? Not that most of the winter hadn't already felt like spring, but it'd be nice have some consistency, of knowing when to stash away the heavy coats for good.
A light lunch won out over braised chicken, which would have taken almost an hour on the stove in my very warm apartment. I remembered there were some carrots in the fridge and a package of soba noodles hanging out in the pack of my cupboard. So I picked up a nice big bunch of kale from the store and improvised a lightly cooked soba dish.
It's a shame that when you order a kale pasta or noodle dish in restaurants, it usually comes speckled with kale like if it were just a garnish. I like my kale in big bunches. I will eat pasta with a bowl of extra kale on the side if it can't all fit on the plate. So here is my rendition of a kale noodle dish done right, with generous amounts of the iron-rich green. And the soba is wonderful tossed with a light sesame dressing. I topped everything off with furikake (one of the all-natural brands without MSG) for some seaweed flavor and extra nuttiness, but if you don't have any on hand, feel free to just sprinkle on toasted white sesame seeds.
Kale and Sesame Soba Noodles
- 1/2 bunch kale (about 5 to 6 large kale leaves)
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 shallot
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 6 ounces dried soba noodles
- 2 teaspoons furikake, or substitute toasted white sesame seeds
- Rinse the kale, remove the hard stems, and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Julienne or grate the carrots. Thinly sliced the shallot. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and honey.
- Bring a medium pot of water to boil. (You can also do steps 2 and 3 simultaneously.) Add the soba noodles and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain under cool water, then toss with the soy-sesame mixture.
- Bring another medium pot of water to boil. Add the kale leaves and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water, then squeeze out the excess water.
- Add the kale, carrots, and sliced shallots to the pot with the noodles and toss. Transfer to plates, then top with furikake.