Today, on cooking with ZS, we'll make... uh, a ramen, er, nabe style hotpot thing?
So back in college I ate a lot of instant ramen (as most brokeass college students do), but the problem is, ramen is actually pretty bad for you. I used to spice mine up by adding chopped veggies, meat, and all that, but then I realized what I was cooking was more like a Japanese style hotpot for one than a bowl of Ramen. I also discovered the Japanese grocery store, where I could buy big bricks of soba noodles and use those instead of ramen! (they're made of buckwheat, which isn't really wheat, and are a slow carb, and are much tastier, in my opinion!)
So, this is a meal that to this day I fix myself almost nightly. The reason I like it so much is that it's tasty, but from a nutritional standpoint, you're getting a very balanced meal, and you can switch out the ingredients to your desire. You can also cook this as a soup, or a dish!
The staples to this dish are a protein source, buckwheat soba, and vegetables. For this particular evening, I had some chicken, so I used that. Normally I would use two eggs, since they're cheaper. Here are the ingredients you'll need!
3 cups of chopped vegetables:
-garlic (hell yeah, all the garlic)
-a pinch of dried seaweed (Fueru Wakame)
-a small bundle of buckwheat soba noodles
-the protein of your choice, 8 oz
-Fish sauce (just a dash for flavor during cooking)
-Soy sauce (just a dash for flavor during cooking)
-Hoisin sauce (1 teaspoon for after cooking is done)
-Siriacha sauce (1 teaspoon for after cooking is done, use this only if you like spicy)
-Shirogoma (white sesame seeds)
So, let's begin!
First off, wash everything thoroughly. Here I've peeled the garlic and cut out bad spots.
These are all plants of the allium family!
I've added the napa cabbage, bok choy, brussels sprouts, and maitake mushrooms.
Next up is the fish sauce. Just a dash, this stuff is really strong. If you've never used it before, don't be surprised if you smell something not unlike cat food. Don't worry though, the end result won't TASTE like cat food. I also add a dash of soy for flavor.
Next, fill up your pan about half way with water, and bring to a boil. Use high heat.
As soon as your water reaches boil, you'll want to add your protein. If you're using eggs, very carefully crack two raw eggs into the top center of the pot, directly over top of the vegetables, and allow them to sit there for a couple of minutes. They should cook through thoroughly in about 5 minutes. Don't stir the pot unless you want little tiny bits of egg all over the place. Generally I end up with 3-4 good size chunks of poached egg when I'm done. As for the chicken, just slice it up into bite size pieces and add it in.
Now we're talking. After about 5 minutes, the protein should be cooked. Next we'll add in the soba noodles.
Soba only needs to cook until it is al dente, so you will only want to have it in there about a minute. Just enough for it to get soft. During this time, it's a good idea to prepare the sauce that we'll put over the dish when it's done. In a small cup, combine 1 teaspoon each of the hoisin and siriacha, omit siriacha if you don't like spicy (you wuss). Thin with a few drops of water and mix it up.
Now we're ready to strain. If you want it as a soup, simply pour it all into a big bowl and add your sauces. If you want it as a dish, we'll strain it for a couple of minutes. That's how I usually do it.
Straining done, put it in the bowl, cover with sauce, and add some white sesame seeds for flavor and presentation.
Noms. Total prep time on this usually takes me only about 15 minutes each night, and this meal weighs in right at about 500-600 calories, depending on what you put into it. Keep in mind that soba is healthy, but it's also very dense, so 1/4 cup of cooked soba is around 100 of those calories. That's why I mostly do veggies and protein. If you add any sesame oil to this, be prepared to add another 120 calories to it per tbs of oil you add. Dense stuff.