Jon and I love Asian food- we especially love shopping at the Asian Market on the corner of Pontiac and Calhoun just south of downtown. The staff is extremely helpful and willing to explain items we are not familiar with. We’ve made it a tradition to visit every weekend while we make our grocery shopping rounds. Many of the ingredients in this recipe are from the Asian Market, supplemented with items from George’s International and 3 Rivers Co-op. Grocery shopping is a big deal in our house- we visit at least 4 stores to get the items we need, ensuring we pick up the freshest ingredients- no big box store shopping for us.
The Bento Box Soup is delicious. I love the contrast between the crispy fresh spinach and the soft soba noodles. The broth is phenomenal- saturated with miso and green tea, offering a tangy and savory base. I don’t particularly like mushrooms, but they complement the flavor in this soup nicely.
- 4 ounces soba noodles
- 4 cups organic vegetable or chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil or hot pepper sesame oil
- 3 green tea bags
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 4 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1/4 cup white miso
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced diagonally
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
Fill a soup pot halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a pinch of salt and the soba noodles and decrease the heat to medium. Cook, stirring gently on occasion, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse well under cold water to remove the starch. Immediately transfer to a bowl, drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon of the sesame oil and toss gently to coat.
Put the broth in the same pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low, add the tea bags, and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove the tea bags with a slotted spoon. Add the carrot, mushrooms, tofu, tamari, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Put 1/4 cup of the hot broth in a small bowl, add the miso, and stir with a fork until the miso is dissolved. Stir the mixture back into the broth, then stir in the scallions, lemon juice, and remaining sesame oil.
Distribute the soba noodles and spinach among six bowls and ladle in the soup.