I recently temporarily had to give up the so-called Nightshade*** vegetables, and one of the most difficult things for me is to give up chilli, as I adore Asian food. However, Japanese food eschews chilli so it is easier to do a Japanese-inspired dish than Thai or Chinese.
Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, which is not a grain, but a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel. It is packed with protein, fibre, and is gluten free. It is a good source of Vitamin B, magnesium and rutin - a powerful antioxidant that promotes cardiovascular health – as well as the trace minerals manganese, phosphorus and copper. Buckwheat is also a plant lignan, which may help protect against breast cancer, and it also has a role in reducing inflammation in the body and lowering high cholesterol levels. All good stuff.
If you’ve never tried soba noodles, they are different from rice or wheat noodles. They have a nutty flavour and currently you can find soba noodles that are deliciously combined with sweet potato, pumpkin or mushrooms. They contain about half the calories and carbohydrate of regular pasta.
They need careful handling otherwise they have a tendency to clump together. Make sure you boil them in plenty of water in a big pan, giving them room to move around. I stir them regularly to stop them clumping. When cooked al dente, which can be as little as 4 minutes depending on the thickness of the noodles, remove with tongs and plunge straight into a bowl of cold water. When cool, drain and divide between the serving bowls.
I put this together when trying to figure out one night what to cook for supper. I had some gorgeous homemade chicken stock sitting on the stovetop that was packed with chicken flavour. With the addition of poached juicy chicken, roasted mushrooms and miso paste, I turned it into a feast for the tastebuds that didn’t require chilli to fire it up.
I have chicken stock on the go all the time because I never waste a chicken carcass. However Ocado, the online supermarket, stock various organic stocks, including mushroom and chicken, which are delicious and can be kept in the freezer until required.
If you are vegan/vegetarian, then use mushroom stock and tofu or boiled quails eggs instead of chicken.
Quite a challenge trying to find a chilli free Asian dish that satisfies, but this one really does it. And it packs in two to three portions of vegetables per person. If you want to ensure you have more vegetables substitute 50g of uncooked soba noodles with a medium sized spiralised courgette. Gotta be good!
For the stock:
500 ml organic chicken or mushroom stock
1 heaped tsp organic coriander seeds
2 tsp grated organic ginger
2 tsp dark red miso paste
3 star anise
1" piece of cinnamon bark
1 tsp Sechuan peppercorns
** 1 Cup of Healing Intent
1. Place the coriander seeds, Sechuan peppercorns and cinnamon bark into a saucepan and heat until some of the seeds begin to pop. Remove from the heat and roughly crush.
2. Add all the ingredients together in a pan and simmer together for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to develop. Top up with extra filtered water if necessary.
For the roasted mushrooms:
300 g mixed mushrooms – enoki, shiitake, oyster, chestnut and field (all available at Tesco or Sainsburys)
1 tbs white miso paste
1 tbs coconut oil
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbs organic tamari
1 tsp grated ginger
1. Wash the mushrooms, dry well and trim the stalks if necessary.
2. Mix the white miso paste, coconut oil, garlic, tamari and ginger into a paste and add the mushrooms to coat well.
3. Spread onto a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes at 180C.
To assemble the dish:
One organic chicken breast*
200g organic tender-stem broccoli or pak choy
soba noodles – 50g per person
chopped coriander (or coriander sprouts)
large handful of beansprouts
organic black sesame seeds
Himalayan pink salt
** One cup of Healing Intent
*or substitute cubed silken tofu for a vegan dish, or cooked, peeled and halved quail's eggs for a vegetarian version
1. Poach the chicken for 20 minutes in the broth over a very low heat. Remove and allow to cool. When cool, slice thickly.
2. Boil the soba noodles until cooked, following the above instructions, but cook for no longer than 4 minutes. The noodles should have some bite but not be raw in the middle. Remove, cool in cold water and arrange between 2 bowls.
3. Steam the broccoli or pan choy until tender, and add the bean sprouts for the last 45 seconds. When cooked arrange the vegetables over the soba noodles then add the sliced chicken or cubed tofu or boiled halved quail's eggs.
4. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and arrange over the vegetables and chicken into the two bowls.
5. Tip any mushroom juices into the chicken stock. Boil up the stock once more then strain.
5. Boil the stock again to ensure it is piping hot and divide between the two bowls.
6. To Serve: sprinkle with chopped coriander or coriander sprouts and black sesame.
** Healing Intent: when cooking foods to heal the body it is important to set your intent. The best way to do this is imagine that you are cooking this dish for yourself or for someone you love who is very ill and that this dish is the only thing that will help in their healing. You will find that the way you handle the food will change, and will not only result in a better dish, but you will feel the food actually nourishing your body and spirit.
*** Nightshade vegetables are: peppers, tomatoes, chilli, potatoes and aubergines, and spices such as chilli powder and paprika. Sweet potatoes are not members of the Nightshade family.