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Hijiki soba 40 minutes

After Japan opened itself to the world over a hundred years ago, japanese cooks began to adapt western dishes in their own style. For instance in the west, people use ketchup as a condiment but the japanese use it as a base for tomato sauces in 'Naporitan' pasta. Spaghetti 'Naporitan' was created just after world war 2 after Shigetada (the head chef at the Hotel New Grand in Yokohama) saw occupying soldiers eating it. Nowadays you can find spaghetti seasoned with soy sauce and served with seaweed. I have always been a huge fan of japanese-style pasta.

Devine & I spent many evenings at Saizeriya a cheap japanese chain of family-style italian restaurants. I had my very first yoshoku-style (western style) pasta there. There are better yoshoku restaurants in Tokyo but they don't have cheap wine.

This is a relatively simple recipe, and uses all of my favourite japanese condiments! If you've never had yoshoku pasta, i envy you. A world of creativity awaits!

soba noodles2 portionsdried hijiki2 tbspcarrot1garlic2 clovessoy sauce2 tbspmaple syrup2 tspmirin1 tbsptempeh60g or 1/4 of 240g packsichuan peppercornsTo taste

    2 portions

  • Put 2 tbsp of dried hijiki in a bowl and cover with a cup of water. Let hijiki re-hydrate for at least 30 minutes, drain.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, add 2 portions of soba noodles and give them a quick stir so they go underwater. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse and transfer to a pot of cold water. Wash the noodles using your hands to remove the excess starch, drain and set aside.
  • Julienne 1 carrot, chop 2 garlic cloves and cut 60g of tempeh (or 1/4 package of 240g) into small cubes. I use noble bean original tempeh.
  • To make the sauce, stir 2 tbsp of soy sauce (or tamari sauce) with 2 tsp of maple syrup and 1 tbsp of mirin together.
  • Heat a pan with a drizzle of oil at medium heat and sautee the garlic for a minute until fragrant. Add the tempeh as well as the julienned carrot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour the sauce and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the tempeh and carrots are cooked. Remove from heat and add the soba noodles, as well as the hijiki. Stir well and divide into 2 plates, season with some sichuan pepper.
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