Nori Rolls with Shiitakes and Soba Noodles

The Great Vegetarian Challenge: Day 4

It’s Wednesday, and according to the official law of the land, mushrooms must be eaten today. If you don’t, officers in uniform will come to your house, arrest you with rusty handcuffs and escort you to the downtown courtroom, where you’ll be forced to wear a scarlet M. People of the village will come and mock your decision. They’ll laugh, point and some will throw rocks even.

These people are serious and dangerous. Don’t mess around with the official law of the land.

Eat your mushrooms.

Nori Rolls with Soba Noodles and Shiitakes:

(from Power Foods)

What it took for 6 rolls:

* 1 (1 oz) package dried shiitake mushrooms

* 1 1/2 cups hot water

* 2 tsp fresh lime juice

* 2 Tbs. soy sauce

* 3 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped

* 4 oz soba noodles

* 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

* 1 Tbs. canola oil

* 2 large shallots, thinly sliced

* 4 cloves garlic, minced

* 2 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced

* 5 cups savoy cabbage, finely shredded

* 4 scallions, trimmed (1 julienned for the sauce, and 3 thinly sliced on the diagonal)

* 6 nori sheets

Place the dried mushrooms in bowl with the hot water. Make sure they’re fully submerged and let sit for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and slice into 1/4th-inch strips. Run the liquid through a sieve and discard any solids. Reserve liquid.

For the dipping sauce, stir together 1 cup of the reserved mushroomy liquid, 1 tsp soy sauce, lime juice and 1 tsp cilantro. Season with a pinch of salt.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the soba noodles. These don’t take long at all to cook, maybe 5 minutes. Drain and rinse them with cold water. Drain once more and toss into a bowl with the sesame oil and remaining cilantro.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger. Cook about 2 minutes, letting the shallots brown a tad. Add the cabbage and toss to combine. Reduce heat a smidge and cook until the cabbage wilts a little, 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/4th cup reserved mushroomy liquid, and the remaining soy sauce. Cover and cook until cabbage is tender, 7 more minutes. Stir occasionally. Toss in the scallions and remove from the heat.

If you have a gas burner, take some tongs and pass each nori sheet over the hot flame until nice and crisp on each side. If you have a lame electric stove top, like me, just toast the sheets directly on top of the burner for literally 2 seconds, crisping on both sides.

To make the rolls, place noodles along one edge of the nori sheet, leaving about an inch at the border. Top with cabbage mixture. Start at the side with the filling and roll each sheet, enclosing the filling.

Slice each roll in half on the diagonal and serve with the dipping sauce!

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