I discovered this recipe on SmittenKitchen and also on Epicurious a little while ago, and ever since, it has intrigued me. After holding out for a while (my dad insisted that "the combination of flavors just don't go"), I ran him down. And boy, I have been wanting to post it for ever, but I have been so incredibly busy. Anyway, this recipe is fantastic, in my opinion. It is incredibly versatile- you can add any vegetable you'd like, and it will still be delicious. It has just the right amount of flavor, a perfect amount of mushrooms in every bite, and it's irresistibly moist. With a perfect crunch to top it off.
Spicy Soba Noodles With Shiitake and Cabbage
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons Korean hot-pepper paste (sometimes labeled "gochujang")
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1o oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 1/4 pound Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (8 cups)
8 to 9 ounces soba (buckwheat noodles)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
*Tip from SmittenKitchen blog....add a splash of sesame oil (I added it to the sauce)
Stir together all sauce ingredients until brown sugar is dissolved, then set aside.
Toast sesame seeds in a dry 12- inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat, stirring, until pale golden, then transfer to a small bowl.
Heat oil in skillet over medium- high heat until it shimmers, then sauté ginger and garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, Add shiitakes and sauté, stirring frequently, until tender and starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, then add cabbage and most of scallions (reserve about a tablespoon for garnish) and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Add sauce and simmer 2 minutes.
While cabbage is cooking, cook soba and edamame together in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until noodles are just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cool water to stop cooking and remove excess starch, then drain well again. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with sesame seeds and vegetable mixture. Serve sprinkled with reserved scallions.
Cooks' note: If you aren't able to find Korean hot-pepper paste, substitute 3/4 teaspoon Chinese chile paste and reduce the amount of soy sauce to 1/4 cup.