At this time of year there’s one thing I really crave and luckily it’s something healthy. It’s also something that doesn’t take ages to prepare and (thank god, because it’s too cold to nip out to the shops last minute) most of the ingredients are sitting waiting for me in the cupboard or fridge. Soba noodles and greens, served in miso broth with a poached egg on top is my winter obsession. It’s warming, sustaining, nutritious and moreishly delicious to eat, I could have it (and its variations) every day of the week.
This is the blueprint recipe, but if you make it regularly you’ll find you want to add new ingredients or omit some things – as long as the stock tastes good and it’s full of things you like to eat, you can’t go wrong. See my suggestions for optional extras below..
400ml stock (I like to use chicken stock – homemade if possible, otherwise I use a Knorr flavour pot – you could use vegetable stock too)
2 star anise
1tbsp coriander seeds
100g dried soba noodles
2 large handfuls of greens, shredded (swiss chard, cavolo nero, Chinese cabbage etc.)
1 carrot, peeled and grated or julienned
2tbsp white miso paste (I use Clearspring)
Sesame seeds, toasted
Dried sea salad, fried in dry pan with a little salt until crisp
Furikake seasoning – a mixture of toasted black and white sesame seeds, seaweed and dried shiso leaves
Wakame, soaked for 5 minutes in warm water
Smoked mackerel, flaked and added to broth with the vegetables
Bulb of fennel, cut into shreds – add this with the vegetables
Put the stock into a saucepan with the star anise, cloves and coriander seeds. Bring to the boil, taste for salt and adjust as necessary. Strain the stock into a jug and discard the spices.
In the same saucepan (if you like to save on washing up), heat about 1.5lt water until it boils. Add a teaspoon of salt and cook the soba noodles for 6minutes (or however long the packet suggests for the variety you are using). When they are cooked but still a little firm, drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, poach the eggs in a small saucepan of salted, simmering water. Then set aside to keep warm.
If you don’t feel comfortable poaching eggs, you could cook them, in their shells, to mollet, or soft boiled stage, then peel them. For mollet eggs, cook medium sized eggs for 6 minutes from fridge temperature, in boiling water, cool and peel.
Return the stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Add the shredded vegetables and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Mix a tablespoon of the stock in a small bowl with the miso paste to dissolve and then stir the miso liquid into the vegetables and stock. Turn down the heat to a very gentle simmer – miso doesn’t like to boil.
Divide the cooked noodles between two bowls and ladle the vegetables and stock over them. Add the poached or peeled, boiled eggs and pour over soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds to serve.