Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Soba Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

In order to increase the amount of whole grains in our diets, I have slowly begun to use more brown rice than white over the past year or so. Fortunately, the food co-op sells brown basmati in bulk for a low price and I also found a brand of brown parboiled for those times I use something other than basmati (not often, but it happens).

Whole wheat pasta has long been a pantry staple here, and our local grocery carries a selection of spaghetti, linguine, and penne that has a nice (not grainy) texture. I usually cook about 2/3 wheat and 1/3 semolina when I make pasta.

A few months ago I saw Japanese soba and udon noodles in, of all places, Big Lots. Soba noodles are flat, narrow, and made from whole wheat and buckwheat flours; udon noodles are wider and made from wheat flour. Having used both, we decided that we prefer soba, both in taste and width.

It is easy to boil these noodles until they break apart into tiny pieces. The package instructed that they are to cook for 8 minutes, but I have learned to start testing them, every 30 seconds, starting at 6 minutes.

I made one of my favorite on-the-fly noodle recipes for dinner last night. Until now, I’ve never really measured the ingredients but I did and now can post it. Jack calls this my “best noodle recipe ever”. In fact, two hours after we finished, he complimented me on it yet again. There are lots of veggies and lean chicken strips tossed with the noodles in an absolutely delicious hoisin/soy based sauce, and the best part is that it can be put together in twenty minutes. The first thing that I did was to only partially thaw the chicken breast, which made it very easy to slice thinly; it thawed the rest of the way while waiting for the veggies to be cut and the sauce put together.

Now this is a bit higher in sodium than I am comfortable with, even using low-sodium soy sauce (is there such a thing as low-sodium hoisin? I’ve never noticed it), so watch your sodium intake for the rest of the meals around this one. We don’t eat many prepared foods at all, so we are able make that sodium-splurge occasionally.

And one more note, this makes 2 very nicely-sized servings. I have been trying to watch my portion sizes closely and am often disappointed by how little food actually gets onto my plate...

* Exported from MasterCook *

Soba Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

Recipe By: Vicci
Servings: 2

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons water-- if it is available, using chicken or veggie broth would be more flavorful
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 large garlic clove -- crushed
3/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
6 ounces soba noodles – can also used whole wheat linguine
6 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast -- sliced into thin strips
3 ounces carrots -- julienned, about 1 cup
4 ounces broccoli florets -- about 2 cups
4 ounces red bell pepper -- cut into 1/4" wide strips, about 1 cup
2 large green onions -- sliced; save green tops to garnish
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts

Place a pot of water on the stove to boil for cooking the noodles.
Combine the hoisin sauce through the Sriracha sauce in a small cup and set aside.

Prepare vegetables and chicken and set aside.

In a nonstick wok over medium-high heat, drizzle one teaspoon of the canola oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, or until the chicken is opaque and no pink remains. Remove, with a slotted spoon, to a bowl and set aside.

At this point, add the soba noodles to the boiling water. Since they can overcook so easily, set a timer for a minute or two less than the time indicated on the package instructions. Whole wheat linguine, if used, is much less time-sensitive (also, if using the linguine, delay starting the next steps for a few minutes since these take longer to cook than the soba noodles).

Heat the remaining oil in the wok (still over medium-high heat) and add the carrots and broccoli. Stir fry for 2 minutes and add the red bell pepper and stir fry for another minute. Add the green onions (except for the green tops) and stir fry for one additional minute. Add the chicken, with the accumulated juices in the bowl, and the sauce. Stir. Drain the noodles, shake the colander to get rid of excess water, and fold the soba noodles into the chicken and vegetable mixture.

Divide between 2 plates, sprinkle with reserved green onion and chopped peanuts.

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Per serving: 545 Calories (kcal); 6g Total Fat (1g Saturated); (10% calories from fat); 38g Protein; 90g Carbohydrate; 49mg Cholesterol; 1698mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 4 1/2 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates