Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Low-Fat August: Day 2

Today's low-fat eating went well... (butter-free toast for breakfast, a salad and felafel roll for lunch, with fruit, coffee and yogurt in-between)... up until the time I was cooking dinner, totally famished, and inhaled two pieces of (again, butter-free) raisin toast. Now, I know that raisin toast isn't high in fat, but the fact that I let myself get almost gastric-pain-inducingly-hungry before dinner shows that I didn't space out my meals appropriately. Bad Sarah.

74. Braised Dried Shiitake Mushrooms with Soba Noodles (Low-Fat)

I totally love soba, and could eat them every day. Nigella's recipe says to cook the noodles according to packet instructions - not very helpful if you can't read Japanese. Lucky for me, though, that I do speak Japanese (yup, I'm doing honours-level Japanese at uni, thank-you very much), so I can read the packet. However, irregardless your ability to read them, I would still advise that you totally ignore the packet instructions, and go with this fail-safe method I skived from a Japanese cookery book. There is nothing in this world that is worse than a limp noodle.

Put water on the heat, and when it comes to the boil, add the noodles. When it comes to the boil again, pour in a cup of cold water. Let it boil again, then pour in a second cup of cold water. Once it boils again (the fourth time), drain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Easy peasy Japaneesy!

To braise the mushrooms, you have to soak them in hot water for half an hour, then stir fry them in a little oil, before pouring over the soaking water, some soy sauce, mirin and sake, and letting it simmer away until the liquid is evaporated.

Mushrooms Braising

I did screw it up a bit though - you're supposed to use two-thirds of the soy sauce for the mushrooms, and pour the remaining one-third over the soba at the end. Silly me was in a hunger-induced hurry, and poured all the soy on the mushrooms without realising. This meant that the noodles were bland, but the mushrooms were uber-salty. Like, so salty I couldn't feel my tongue anymore. My dad didn't seem to mind them though. We cut up the mushrooms into little pieces on the plate so that there wouldn't be such a huge salty hit with each mouthful. And anyway, they contrasted well against the noodles.

Nigella only suggests sprinkling over chopped coriander, but I felt that the dish was just crying out for some spring onions and nanami togarashi (Japanese 7-spice chilli pepper). I put the spring onions on the side, as my dad doesn't like them, and gave my mum extra coriander, as she loves it.

Capacious Noodles

I think this is an excellent meal for those trying to reduce their fat intake without feeling deprived. The noodles are filling, and the mushrooms are meatily substantial. I'm stuffed! According to Nigella, eating food with strong tastes (like super-salty mushrooms) makes you feel fuller for longer. If that's true, I'm gonna be full for a long while...


Frances said...

I am so craving Asian food!!! your photos are too die for! I think im going to have to get you to courier me some soba to europa now :-)

Spot said...

hahaha...quite clear where your mum sat at the dining table. :)