Sansai tanuki soba / buckwheat noodles with mountain vegetables and tempura pearls

As a noodle topping, sansai mountain vegetables alone give a refreshing taste but could be a bit too light. Tenkasu tempura pearls add a rich note but could lack texture. They soak up the soup, which could also mean you get more sodium than desired. Combining these two ingredients while reducing the volume of each is one delicious solution. Sliced young myoga stems offer a clean aroma and taste.

For the recipe below, usukuchi pale soy sauce and regular dark soy sauce, not reduced-sodium soy sauce, are used for the soup to achieve stronger umami. Dried enoki mushrooms are also added to enhance the umami effect. The strong soup means more satisfaction with a smaller amount compared to a weaker soup, and this naturally makes us refrain from taking extra sips, preventing excess sodium consumption. This works especially well with unflavored toppings or toppings that contain lots of moisture.

1/2 of recipe: 
425 calories; 17.7 g protein; 3.6 g fat; 78.6 g carbohydrate; 8.4 g net carbs; 479 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 7.2 g fiber; 371 mg potassium

<Ingredients>

200 g dried soba noodles made of 100% sobako buckwhat flour (juu-wari soba)

For soba-tsuyu soup
800 g strong dashi
      1000 cc kobudashi (5 g kombu kelp soaked in 1000 cc water for 1+ hour, ideally overnight)
      30 g katsuo-saba-bushi (bonito-mackerel flakes) 1 tbsp sake
1/2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp usukuchi shoyu pale soy sauce
1 tbsp koikuchi shoyu regular strong soy sauce

For toppings
Approx. 50 g seiyo meshida Western lady fern fiddleheads (55 g blanched in photo)
Approx. 50 g warabi bracken (46 g prep-boiled in photo)
5-6 g dried enoki mushrooms (6 g in photo)
2-3 young myoga ginger stems (54 g in photo; only white sections used below)
1 green onion (12 g in photo)
30 g tenkasu / agetama tempura pearls

Shichimi togarashi pepper (optional)

<Directions>
1.
Make soba-tsuyu soup according to seri soba recipe.

2.
Bring plenty of water to boil (for cooking soba noodles).

3.

Cut meshida and warabi into 3-4 cm.
Diagonally and thinly slice white sections of young myoga stems.
Thinly slice green onion.

4.

Put 150-200 cc of soba-tsuyu soup in a small pot or pan, and bring to boil.

Put meshida and warabi, and simmer for 1 minute.

Add dried enoki, mix, and remove from heat.

5.

When water vigorously boils, put soba noodles, and cook according to package instructions.

When done, transfer to cold water (save cooking hot water), chill, and gently rub surface with hands, changing water until it becomes clear.

When ready to assemble, drain soba, and pour hot water to warm up noodles, and serve in individual bowls.

6.

Pour soba-tsuyu soup.

Put meshida, warabi and enoki (including soup) as well as tenkasu tempura pearls.

Top with myoga and green onion slices.
Sprinkle shichimi togarashi if desired.
Immediately serve hot.

<Notes>

  • Ginger (julienned or grated) can substitute for myoga above.
  • When toppings are strongly flavored or have lower moisture content, reduced-sodium soy sauce (in combination with usukuchi soy sauce) works fine.
  •  Dried enoki mushrooms (6 g) above are equivalent to 35-38 g fresh enoki
  • Enoki mushrooms are dried on parchment paper for a few days.
  • The above nutrition figures are based on an assumption that 50% of soup is consumed (this is a conservative figure; very few sips of soup alone are taken due to strong taste). The sodium figure is based on measurement. As for potassium content, 83% of dried soba noodles’ potassium and 72% of lady fern fiddleheads’ are assumed to be released into water during boiling.
  • Soba buckwheat noodles that use wheat flour usually contain salt. Those made with buckwheat only (juu-wari soba [100% buckwheat noodles]) are salt-free.
  • Sansai mountain vegetables are one of the common toppings for soba buckwheat noodles and udon wheat noodles in soup. These noodles are available at restaurants all year round thanks to preserved sansai. Another common topping for these noodle dishes are tenkasu tempura pearls, which are called tanuki [lit. racoon dogs] in this particular situation. When salty sweet usuage thin deep-fried tofu is used as a topping, the topping is referred to as kitsune [lit. fox].