Now that the days are getting longer, dinner time creeps up much faster than it used to. The other day I was out enjoying a warm spring afternoon without a worry in the world. I had the sun on my back, my kids were running around loving life and the time was of no importance. Until I got home that is… and everyone was hungry because it was well after dinner time. You see, in these blissful moments it’s quite easy to block out the fact that you have nothing prepared for dinner.
After a quick rummage through the cupboard, I came across a packet of dashi that I had been meaning to use. If you have never tried dashi before, please do yourself a favour. It takes no time to prepare, is super versatile and is wonderfully flavoursome – it can be used as a base for noodle dishes, curries or simple miso soup. I had some random vegetables in the fridge, chicken thigh fillets and soba noodles and I threw this dish together.
It took 20 minutes to make from start to finish and everyone in the family loved it, including my 8 month old. For my (almost) 3 and (almost) 5 year old I served the noodles with less broth and I cut the vegetables up nice and finely. Life’s good when the whole family eats the same meal!
Soba noodles in broth with chicken and vegetables
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1/4 of a small fennel, thinly shaved
2 chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3 cm pieces (I always choose thigh fillet over breast fillet. It’s so much juicier and much more flavoursome… but of course you could use breast here if that’s your preference)
1 x 3g packet of dashi
2 tbs of soy
2 tbs of mirin
4 stalks of broccoli or broccolini, sliced
6 asparagus spears, sliced (tips left in tact)
A handful of fresh or frozen peas
A handful of baby spinach
(I have also made this with thinly sliced pumpkin, mushrooms etc. You can really add any quick cooking vegetables you have on hand)
3 x 90g bundles of soba noodles
4 eggs, or one per person, hard boiled
Sesame seeds, extra soy sauce and sriracha to serve
Place a medium saucepan of water on to boil for your soba noodles.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek and fennel and saute until soft and golden. Add the chicken and brown quickly. Add the dashi and 600ml of boiling water (or as per the instructions on the dashi you have), soy sauce and mirin. Bring to a simmer. Add your vegetables and continue to simmer for approximately 3 minutes or until soft.
Drop your noodles in the boiling water. They should take 3 minutes to cook (I cook for one minute less than the packet says as they cook a little more in the hot broth). Drain and divide up into your bowls. Spoon over the chicken, vegetables and broth. Top with an egg, sesame seeds, more soy to your taste and some chilli sauce if you like a bit of heat.