Happy Monday, everyone! As you may recall, in the remainder of 2014, once a month Munchy Mondays is replaced by Foodie Academics where we learn a new recipe favored by another academic. This month’s guest blogger is a former colleague of mine from the Netherlands, George Knox. George contributed a yummy stir-fry recipe for us — I am particularly happy about this as my experience of cooking stir-fry mainly involves buying prepackaged frozen stir-fry veggies. Enjoy!
I am not a good cook; I’m a great cook. Like many artists and visionaries, I support my passion with a humdrum academic day job that pays the bills. Mine involves teaching bored 20 year-olds the 5 P’s of marketing (hint: the fifth is Pterodactyl). My culinary skills are largely intuitive, improvised and “raw.” One advantage I can claim over professionally-trained chefs is that I am not encumbered by any specific domain knowledge or cuisine. Right now, I like stir-fry’s, because they’re flavorful, quick and healthy. But tomorrow could bring ice cream, smoothies, or focaccia.
This one can be made vegan (with veggie instead of chicken broth). I love making it when the sesame oil hits the freshly cooked soba noodles. It’s got two distinct sources of spiciness which you can adjust to your liking. The flavor profile is rich and hearty. I make no claim of originality. To quote T. S. Eliot, “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” This comes from a more elaborate recipe by Martha Rose Shulman which you can find in the newly released New York Times recipe finder, cooking.nytimes.com.
Stir-Fried Soba Noodles With Shiitakes
The stir-fry requires a bit of advanced prep because everything gets cooked quickly. You’ll need:
• ginger, garlic, chiles, shiitake, tofu, soba noodles, scallions (green onions), chicken or veggie stock (cubes), and cilantro.
• In a small bowl, combine a 1-2 tablespoons of chopped garlic, ginger, and ½-1 tablespoons of chiles, fresh or dried, red or green. You can put more or less depending on how spicy you like it.
• In another small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry, 1 t. soy sauce, ½ a cup of chicken or veggie stock—I take a quarter of a bouillon cube—and a pinch each of salt and sugar.
• Bring a pot of water to boil and put the soba noodles in; they come in bunches of three here. We typically use 2. Cook them for about 4 minutes, drain, and rinse with cold water so they don’t overcook. Pour 2 t of sesame oil over them.
• While the soba noodles are cooking, chop your shiitake mushrooms (discard stems) thinly, approx. 1 cm thick.
• Chop scallions thinly, separate white from green parts
• Dice the tofu into small cubes, about 2-3 cm on each edge.
• Put the wok on high heat, and pour in some wok oil like sunflower oil. When it looks like it’s getting really hot, add the tofu. Stir-fry until it gets golden-brown, about 2 minutes, stirring often. Once put the tofu on a nearby plate.
• Now the wok should be empty. Add some more oil (1-2 t). When it’s hot, add the garlic-ginger-chile mixture and cook for 30 seconds.
• Add the chopped shiitake and the white chopped parts of the scallions. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly so the mushrooms don’t get burned.
• Add the soba noodles, tofu, and the stock mixture, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly and mixing all the ingredients.
• Add the cilantro and dark green parts of the scallions; cook for another 30 seconds. These will cook just by stirring them in.