Friday, June 29, 2007

Green tea noodles, tofu and wakame in dashi broth

Restorative? You wouldn't believe it. This stuff will restore a broken spirit, mend a broken heart, cure exhaustion, unwind a tired mind, promote clarity of thought and probably would help a lot toward world peace, if we could just get some down Dubya's gullet.
I first came across a version of this in Marie Claire's Bowl Food, one of those cute mini-books you see at the newsagent. Similar: same basic concept. Green tea noodles, dashi, Asian greens and some seaweed. Easy to make in about 7 minutes, so soothing, and so comforting, too.
Actually for a non-Asian person, it's creepy how much Asian food has become my personal comfort food.
For years, on every trip to Sydney, I'd seek out this one particular noodle joint in one particular food court in Chinatown for my lunch. The broth, the dumplings, the fresh vegetables... I'd walk away feeling so content, like nothing could ever touch me again, and full of delicious noodles and soup (sprinkled with chili powder, of course...)
Well, this soup is much more Japanese in origin and much simpler. It makes me feel calm, comforted and refreshed.
All the ingredients can be sorted at your local Asian supermarket (definitely at Sunnybank, Burlington's or Yuen's).

Green tea noodles
Silken tofu (leave it out if you're not the soy type)
Bok choy or other Asian greens
Dried wakame
Dashi soup base (dried bonito flakes)
Light soy sauce

Follow the instructions on the dashi packet. Inside are individual sachets: you need about half a sachet for one person. About 1.5 or 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Add the powder to the boiling water, stir to combine. Pop in a handful of noodles to cook, along with a couple of pinches of wakame (it swells up Really Big so you might want to go easy on the seaweed). Meanwhile, trim and wash the greens and put them in your noodle bowl with the chopped tofu. When the noodles are ready, pour the lot over the tofu and greens and add soy sauce to taste.
Consume in a tranquil water garden, at peace and at one with the universe.

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