Helloooo! Did you miss me? I took a wee holiday break from blogging, due to all the end-of-year craziness and celebration, and I am back all bright-eyed and bouncy! Speaking of celebration, did you know that many Asian cultures ring in the New Year by eating noodles, which represent long life? My good friend described to me how to make kimchi soba noodles – not just for New Year’s, but as a simple everyday one-pot dinner using ingredients that are easy to keep on hand. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, and have a hearty, nutty flavor which is perfect with the strong garlicky flavor of the kimchi. I’ve added tofu and spinach for extra goodness, and you should feel free to add whatever vegetables and protein you like as well.
Kimchi, which is Korean fermented cabbage pickle, is fairly widely available in supermarkets these days, as are soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles). I confess that until recently, I was a bit scared of kimchi and I didn’t really know what to do with it, so I am quite happy my friend told me how to make something delicious and healthy with it, and I totally want to put it in everything now. I was afraid it would be too spicy for me, but I do not find it overly spicy at all with the noodles. It is quite garlicky, though! You can add more or less kimchi to taste, which helps control the heat. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, seek out vegan or vegetarian kimchi, because it typically contains anchovies.
- 3 bundles soba noodles (this will make enough for 2 hungry adults + leftovers for lunch, but you can scale to your needs)
- ½ c. kimchi, roughly chopped (use a cutting board you don't mind staining!) - more or less, to taste
- 1 - 14 oz. package firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into ½" to 1" cubes
- 5 oz. baby spinach
- ½ bunch scallions, sliced (divided - save some for garnish)
- 2 T. dark sesame oil (the kind that tastes like sesame)
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 2 T. seasoned rice vinegar, like Marukan in the yellow bottle
- Prepare the noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add soba noodles and cook according to package directions (probably 4-8 minutes of boiling the noodles, but check the package to be sure because various brands cook differently). Drain the noodles when done, and return to the pot.
- Prepare the sauce: Meanwhile, stir together the sesame oil, soy sauce, and seasoned rice vinegar in a small bowl.
- Assemble the dish: Add the chopped kimchi to the noodles in the pot, and place over high heat. Cook and toss the noodles until they are completely covered with the kimchi. Add the tofu, spinach, and a handful of sliced scallions (saving some for garnish), then drizzle with the sauce, and continue cooking and tossing over high heat until the spinach has wilted and the tofu is warm. Serve garnished with the remaining sliced scallions, and a few Korean red pepper flakes if you like. Enjoy!!