Soba with Sesame Sauce

Soba with Sesame Sauce

Long time, no see! The holidays always leave me feeling like I have to play catch-up with everything for weeks afterward, and, unfortunately, finding new meals to make tends to take a back seat!

Anyway, over Christmas break we took the girls to a local Las Vegas restaurant called Anime Ramen, and being the teen and pre-teens that they are, they absolutely loved it. The food was good, too, and we decided that once things calmed down we were going to try playing with some homemade Japanese food ourselves. So last week we ordered soba noodles on Amazon and I got to work.

Soba with Sesame Sauce

This recipe for Soba with Sesame Sauce originally came from AllRecipes, but I’ve adapted it a bit below.

The original recipe called for raw broccoli, but not everyone likes it raw, so I blanched it first: put it in a pot of boiling water for just a couple of minutes and then dunk it in ice water to stop the cooking. It gets rid of the rawness without losing all of the crunch. You can also use a bag of frozen broccoli, boiled for just a few minutes. I scooped the broccoli out with a spider so I could use the same boiling water for the noodles.

I also added chicken breast to make it a bit more substantial for dinner. Make sure you cook it all the way through since it’s not going back into the heat (unlike a stir-fry, for example). If you want to make this vegetarian, just leave out the chicken.

We were a little wary about eating it at room temperature (it felt like it should be piping hot!) but it was good, and this will be perfect for summer!

Soba with Sesame Sauce

Soba with Sesame Sauce
serves 5

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 package (9.5 oz) dried soba noodles
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
8 green onions, chopped
3 cups broccoli florets, blanched

Cut chicken breasts in one-inch strips and saute in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until cooked through. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook them for 4 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water, and drain them again.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, green onions, and chicken. Add the noodles, and the toasted sesame seeds. Toss well and stir in the broccoli. Let the dish sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.


Katsudon – Pork Cutlet Rice Bowl

Katsudon – Pork Cutlet Rice Bowl

Katsudon means pork cutlet rice bowl (I don’t know for sure, don’t quote me) and is a popular Japanese dish. Mike gets them at a little shop close to his work, and asked me last week if I’d find a recipe for it.

All the ingredients were easy to find (in fact, the only thing I had to pick up was a new bottle of rice wine vinegar), but it was the combination that threw me a bit: fried panko-crusted pork chops that are cooked in a sweet sauce with eggs over rice. My first thought? Weird. But I’ll try anything once.

Katsudon – Pork Cutlet Rice Bowl

Of course, they were delicious. How could anything that looks like that not be? My pork cutlets actually started out as one-inch thick chops. Instead of spending ten minutes trying to pound them each out, I butterflied them and then gave them each a quick once-over with the mallet.

Katsudon – Pork Cutlet Rice Bowl

Once it’s done cooking you cut the pork into thin strips and put it in yet another pan with the warmed sauce. After letting the pork absorb the sauce for a minute you add a beaten egg and stir the whole thing around for a bit, and then serve over rice.

This was quite a production for five people but once I got the routine down I had dinner ready in about 45 minutes.

I used this recipe, but next time I’m going to add some sliced onion to the sauce since Mike says that’s how they serve it at the shop. I also didn’t use an inch of oil for frying (more like a few tablespoons), and we didn’t add peas (though that would be really good).

Katsudon – Pork Cutlet Rice Bowl
I’m awesome with rice.