Sunday, July 25, 2010

Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Ginger-Garlic Broth for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

After a couple of weeks of cold soups I was ready for something different and warm, and chose Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Ginger-Garlic Broth. Although I eat soup year-round in a generally pretty warm climate, I know some people don't like soup in summer, however I think that Asian soups and noodle bowls in particular lend themselves well to year-round eating. There is something cooling about slurping noodles and the flavors are usually fresh and light.

This recipe comes from the March 2010 issue of Natural Health magazine from an article on making over your pantry with healthy staples. Overall this soup is pretty healthy except for the sodium, (it comes in at 1561 mg--Yikes!). Although the recipe does note that this is most of your daily sodium quota and to make low sodium choices the rest of the day, I made some simple changes to bring the amount down considerably. I used my homemade chicken stock, that I cook without salt, took the salt out of the water to cook the noodles and reduced the amount of some of the salty condiments used too. I made up for any loss in flavor with extra ginger and garlic and also squeezed in the juice of a lime at the end. I was also craving a bit more protein so I added some sliced, cooked chicken breast. Easy, painless swaps that still made a soup full of flavor and by my estimate, reduced the sodium down by more than half the original recipe.

Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Ginger-Garlic Broth
adapted from Natural Health Magazine, March 2010
(Serves 4)
Prep Time: 10 minutes / Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 Tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (used 3 cloves)
1 (1 1/2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely minced (used a 3-inch piece)
6 cups vegetable broth (used homemade chicken stock w/o salt)
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (used 1 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 drops Tabasco Sauce (or to taste) (used 1 tsp sambal oelek)
1 Tbsp Asian fish sauce (used 2 tsp)
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
8 oz buckwheat soba noodles
(added about 4 oz of cooked, sliced chicken breast)
(added the juice of 1 lime)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (for garnish) (used roasted sesame seeds w/o salt)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (for garnish)

In a small pot over medium heat, heat canola oil until shimmering, then saute garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the broth, soy sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, Tabasco and fish sauce. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a simmer and add shredded cabbage and carrots. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer while noodles cook.

Bring a large pot of salted (omitted salt) water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions, then drain and portion into four bowls. (Add chicken breast on top of noodles) Ladle broth into each bowl and garnish with peanuts (sesame seeds) and cilantro.

Per Serving: 327 calories, 8g fat, (1g saturated), 8g protein, 57g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 1561 mg sodium. (Note this is most of your daily sodium quota, so make low sodium choices the rest of the day.)

Notes/Results: Hearty but not heavy and full of good ginger & garlic flavor, this is a nourishing bowl of noodles. I put my cabbage and carrots in a bit later than the recipe specified because I like my veggies a bit crisp and wasn't "feeling" the peanuts, so I sprinkled on some roasted sesame seeds. Other veggies could be added or tofu or shrimp too, this is an easy soup to change up with whatever you have on hand. I would make this again, keeping the sodium low with my changes.

Looks like quite a crowd in the Souper Sunday kitchen this week--let's take a look:

The wonderful girlichef is continuing her tortilla soup quest and has this Sopa de Tortilla from Mark Bittman to share this week. girlichef says, "In general, I've found that so far I prefer the TS recipes that are broth-based, as opposed to the thicker tomato-based ones. This one is one of the thicker versions, BUT it actually uses half of the tortilla strips IN the soup, itself. As in, pureéd INTO the soup. Madness, I tell you. Brilliant Madness. Plus, the lime juice in the recipe is actually squeezed and stirred opposed to squeezing wedges over it as garnish. This has been my favorite thick TS to date! You can seriously taste the grounding corn taking hold of you in each bite!"

Welcome Umm from Taste of Pearl City, joining us at Souper Sundays for the first time this week from Germany. Umm has a unique Oats and Sago Kanji to share this week. She says, "Kanji is a type of porridge which we normally used to have during ramadhan after breaking our fast. In South India it's very common to have this type of kanji. Almost in every mosque they prepare this and people have it after breaking their fast. This is very light and keeps you satisfied. Normally this is prepared using rice, vegetables, lentils and meat. In this recipe I replaced rice with oats and sago, which was really good. This would be so good to have immediately after breaking fast." Welcome Umm!

Spencer from Live2EatEat2Live Blog made "Dishwater Soup" what he calls a soup made with water, vegetables and flavorings, "Very thin, light soups. These soups come in handy when we’re in a rush and haven’t had time to simmer bones and other ingredients for hours. While we were in Zhenhai, Ningbo, China, we were given a large bag of dehydrated green vegetable, cai gan (“vegetable dried”). The vegetable looks like a cross between choi sum and Shanghai cabbage. I soaked the dried shiitake mushrooms for about 30 minutes, strained the water the mushrooms soaked in, brought the water and mushrooms to a boil, added a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, a splash of Shao Xing wine, and a tiny scoop of pork fat. After a second boil, I turned off the stove, added the cai gan, a splash of roasted sesame oil, and served."

Reeni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice has a luscious White Corn Soup with Poblano Cream Sauce on the menu this week. She says, "This is a farmer’s soup recipe made with sweet white corn, poblano peppers, and not much else! Just as it should be at this point in time...with farm-fresh corn popping up everywhere. The soup is an excellent showcase for the corn as the starring attraction. It can be eaten hot, luke-warm or cold, and is one quick soup to make. Summer-time comfort food doesn’t get any better than this! The intense flavor of corn hits your mouth in an explosion of flavor; extra creamy and super sweet with a hit of earthy heat from the poblano cream that assaults your tongue at the last moment. Completely delicious."

Janet from The Taste Space made two wonderful salads this week. First up, this Orzo Salad with Pan-Fried Chickpeas, Dill, and Lemon. Janet says, "This is a delicious orzo salad brimming with fresh dill and spring onions, a slight lemony tang and this is coupled with creamy, nutty roasted chickpeas. The orzo has a delicious slippery texture that complements the chickpeas well. The next time I make it, I would consider replacing the orzo with something else though. Perhaps wild rice? Or a grain like quinoa? The possibilities are endless for summer salads!"

Next this French Barley Salad with Carrots, Green Beans, Red Peppers and Almond, about which Janet says, "Over Thanksgiving, I made an incredibly delicious French Barley Salad that I Ashley posted at Eat Me, Delicious, which was adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special (which I already owned!). The food was so delicious it got a spotlight in my Thanksgiving 2008 album and also kickstarted my food photography. It is through practice and reflection that we improve, and I know my photos have improved over the past couple of years. So when I remade the salad recently, I still took its photo… of the leftovers, though, and sadly my photography skills were not at their peak. Can I blame it on my parents having prettier bowls? Nah…. One step forward and two steps back.. sounds like I am dancing backwards? Well, at least it is a tasty trip backwards."

The lovely Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs) is working magic in her garden again and has two simple, fresh salads this week too, (the two upper bowls), hold a Kohlrabi Salad and a Chicory Salad. She says "Some weeks ago I served the four tex-mex side dishes in the picture, salads and sauces for grilled meat...two salads with freshly harvested vegetables from my garden. This is the first Kohlrabi I ever grow and harvested, peeled to be served raw."

Lori from Fake Food Free learned the secret to perfectly cooked salad potatoes from her Mom (you'll have to go read her post for it!) and used it to make this healthy Mustard and Chive Potato Salad with Yogurt. She says, "Since the potato preparation discovery I have been trying out different combinations of potato salad. I find I really like the flavor of spicy brown mustard and it allows you to use a lot less mayonnaise. This time around I added Greek yogurt, cut the mayo even more, and I’m pretty sure I’ve discovered my favorite one! PS. How exciting is it that every fresh ingredient in this dish came out of our garden?!"

Reshmi from A Feast to the Eyes and Stomach is back again this week with a refreshing Cucumber Salad with Mint. Reshmi says, "Salads are my favourites and the meal becomes somehow incomplete without them. If you don't have many vegetables in your fridge, then this cucumber salad would be a right choice ! Its very simple and easy to make, gives a rich aromatic flavour of the mint together with its different dressing.If you do not have orange blossom water, mix 2 or 3 drops of orange essence in 2 tablespoons of water and then use it."

Pam from Sidewalk Shoes made the most of a bounty of free salad dressing, (including photographing the bottles copious times!) and made this Apple Chicken Salad from one of the recipes included. She says, "Then, after carrying my dressings around all over the house and photographing them, I settled in on finding a recipe. The dressings came with some recipe cards and that seemed like a fine a way to start. I immediately settled on Apple Chicken Salad because I had some leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge. I had everything I needed to make it except for the cheddar cheese, which I just left off. Very good!!! The dressing was light and flavorful, not overly sweet, and I really like the combination of the cabbage and the salad greens."

It's so nice to have Christine from Kits Chow back with us this week and with a fun Chicken and Vermicelli Salad. Christine says, "This past week, I have been posting "A salad a day". I am back on the South Beach Diet and wanted to eat some simple, healthy, delicious salads. Today's salad has carbs but can be adapted for the SBD by omitting the noodles. For the vegan version, skip the meat. I was channel surfing on TV and found a cooking show where the host was making a salad with rice vermicelli. It looked very good and Mr. KC said he wouldn't mind having some rice noodles like that. Why not? It was easy and looked delicious."

Debbi from Debbi Does Dinner Healthy & Low Calorie has a take on a classic sandwich, this Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Red Onion Jam. She says, "I read about these grilled cheese sandwiches from Kristen over at Holy Cannoli. I saw this red onion sauce and knew it would be a winner. It didn't disappoint! Have you ever had an Arby's beef and cheddar? It has an onion bun, roast beef, cheddar and a sauce. The flavor of this grilled cheese totally reminded me of a beef and cheddar sandwich. Without the roast beef of course."

Kim from Stirring the Pot loves her hummus and used it to make Chickpea Sliders this week. Kim says, "The chickpea burgers can be made in about 20 minutes and make a great, quick, and economical lunch or dinner. You'll need no more than a can of chickpeas, some spices, a little onion, some flour and an egg. That's it! The chickpea burgers were slightly crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside. The flavor was a little mild so next time I will probably add in some garlic and quite possibly some curry power or cumin.I really like that this is a simple meal that can be made with the most basic pantry items."

Wow! What a great turnout of good friends both old and new this week--plenty of soups, salads and sandwiches to share. Thanks to everyone who took part. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details on how to join in.

Have a wonderful week!


  1. This is a great round up of soups, salads and sammies. I like that your noodle soup had tons of different vegetables and that you used homemade made, the nuance of flavors are so superior. I also like the variety of thin soups that were featured, it works well in this heat.

  2. This is seriously the best round up!!!

  3. I seriously love broths that are packed with the flavors of ginger and garlic...what a delicious summer soup! And the whole roundup is deeeelicious =)

  4. I think it's the nourishment factor that makes even hot soups feel light and refreshing. This definitely has that quality! Love the ginger infusion.

    And the round up? Lovely.

  5. I would not turn down a bowl of your delicious noodle soup no matter how hot the weather! There's something so satisfying about a noodle bowl. And what a great turn-out this week! Thanks for including me.

  6. Your soup looks fabulous and with those ingredients must be delicious. The round-up is terrific. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  7. What a great array of food! Very inspiring, thank all for sharing :-)

  8. What a tasty roundup! I love your buckwheat soba noodle soup. I agree with you...I could slurp up noodle soups all year round:)

    Thanks for including me!

  9. looks fab you make the best Asian dishes yum

  10. I think I will look for buckwheat noodles in my favourite grocery, you recipe looks great!

  11. I definitely have to try those soba noodles. I'm always struggling for new creative ways to prepare them. Great, summery round up this week!


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