Recipe extract from: Always Delicious by Lauraine Jacobs MNZM

Lauraine Jacobs MNZM is an internationally respected food and wine writer, and the author/editor of nine cookbooks. A passionate cook and lover of simply presented fresh food, she has won many food and recipe writing awards including two Gold Ladles at the World Food Media Awards. Her dream is that New Zealand becomes an internationally recognised food-tourism destination.

This simple soba noodle dish is dressed with miso, the flavoursome paste that is one of the most important building blocks of Japanese cuisine. A key ingredient in miso soup and other dressings, marinades and dishes, it will keep for months in an airtight jar if refrigerated. I was inspired to make this soba noodle recipe after a spring-time visit to Tokyo. The legendary cherry blossoms were in full bloom and almost every dish we ate was light and colourful, celebrating the coming of spring. Japanese cuisine is all about the seasons!

Serves 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a main course
Wine suggestion: dry gewürztraminer
Best in spring

For the miso dressing:
2 tbsp organic miso
2 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp runny honey

For the noodles:
200g baby mushrooms
2 tbsp vegetable oil (grapeseed or rice bran)
12 baby carrots
1 cup broccoli sprouts
180g soba noodles
shreds of Japanese pickled ginger
sesame seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan
coriander or Vietnamese mint leaves for garnish

Prepare the dressing by mixing the miso, vinegar, oil and honey together in a jar and shake or stir until all dissolved.

To prepare the vegetables, slice the mushrooms as thinly as possible. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms. Toss them over gentle heat for 2–3 minutes until they begin to wilt but do not let them become soft and mushy. Remove, then add the carrots to the frying pan. You may need to add some extra oil to pan-roast the carrots over a gentle heat until tender, tossing frequently. Simmer a pan of salted water and blanch the broccoli sprouts for 2 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile bring another pan of salted water to the boil and plunge the soba noodles into the water. Simmer for 3–4 minutes until soft and pliable. Drain well and toss in a little sesame oil so they don’t get sticky.

To assemble the dish, toss the noodles (either warm or cold) in half the miso dressing. Place on a large serving platter and top with the mushrooms, carrots and broccoli. Drizzle over the remaining dressing and garnish with pickled ginger, sesame seeds and the herb leaves.


Always Delicious is published by Potton & Burton on 24 September and is available for sale in bookshops nationwide. RRP $49.99


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