April 30, 2009

Otsu (or Fiery Lemon Ginger Soba Noodles with Shrimp)

food-1446I came across this recipe a few weeks ago, when I first purchased Super Natural Cooking, a wonderful book by Heidi Swanson of www.101cookbooks.com. It looked intriguing. Apparently, this dish comes from a little restaurant near where Heidi lives called Pomelo. I love Asian foods (in case you haven’t already figured that out by my numerous Asian-inspired posts), but this recipe used buckwheat noodles, an ingredient I have seen in other recipes and in stores, but had yet to try for myself. And then, after reading Jaden’s version of the recipe on www.steamykitchen.com, and considering her suggestion to substitute shrimp for the tofu, I decided I was dilly-dallying around for too long, and I made a point to make it this week. And as usual, Heidi didn’t disappoint! I could eat bucketloads of this stuff. Seriously. I had more than my fair share for dinner last night, and I have packed a healthy amount of leftovers for lunch today.  As you’ll see, on a last-minute whim, I added the sliced kumquats, only because I found them at the store that afternoon and had already gotten into them and was inspired. (Couldn’t help myself!) They make a unique contribution to this dish that I really enjoyed.

Have you ever had a kumquat? If not, I highly suggest you try to find some. They are kind of like a Crybaby candy in your mouth. (Remember those?) You bite into them, and at first, they’re sour – like pucker-your-face-up sour. But then, the juicy, citrusy, sweet flesh on the inside gushes over your tongue, and floods your mouth with happy deliciousness! (Okay, so they’re really better than the candy, because they’re not artificial-tasting, but you get my drift.) You can find them in some Asian groceries, or at Whole Foods. I actually found them at Wal-Mart…a place I’m not usually shopping for produce…but there is a Neighborhood Wal-Mart on my way home from work that has a huge amount of Asian produce available. It’s rather unique. So when I happened by the kumquats, I grabbed them.

So, without further adieu, I bring you Ostu, by way of Heidi Swanson and Jaden Hair, originally from Rolf Bachmann who I have decided is a genius to create this dish.

Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 inch section of ginger, peeled and grated
1 T honey
3/4 t cayenne
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c rice vinegar
1/3 c soy sauce
2 T olive oil
2 T toasted sesame oil

12 ounces dried soba noodles
1 T olive oil
8 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salt and pepper

¼ c cilantro, chopped

½ cucumber, peeled and seeded, sliced thinly

5 kumquats, sliced thinly
1/4 c toasted sesame seeds

Additional chopped cilantro for garnish

 

To make the dressing, combine the lemon zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce and blend in a food processor or hand blender. Run the blender for a few seconds, until all ingredients are combined. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.

 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the soba noodles until just tender, then drain.

 

While the noodles are cooking, heat up a large frying pan or wok. When hot, pour in the 1 T olive oil. Season the shrimp with a bit of salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot, add the shrimp in a single layer, and cook for 2 minutes. Flip over and cook until just cooked through, about another minute or two. Remove shrimp and set aside.

 

Drain excess oil from pan/wok, remove from heat, and add the soba, cilantro, cucumber, and about ½ cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the shrimp and kumquats and toss again, and serve with sesame seeds and cilantro sprinkled on top.

 

Serves 4. Can be served warm or cold.

9 Responses to “Otsu (or Fiery Lemon Ginger Soba Noodles with Shrimp)”

  1. That looks delish. I love Asian foods well. Oddly enough I haven’t really tried a kumquat. I don’t know why either. Or have I? I think need to go buy some right now.

  2. Hi, good post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for writing. I will certainly be subscribing to your posts.

  3. Heidi does not disappoint! That is true. The soba noodles are so satisfying. Love the idea that it is sweet & hot! Good one. Best from Santa Barbara, s

  4. I keep coming back. You’ve got some great recipes.

  5. Your Otsu looks wonderful! The dressing sounds light and refreshing. I love shrimp and soba dishes. Yum!

  6. You had me at lemon and ginger!

  7. I love ginger, citrus, and especially cilantro together! Very nice!

  8. Hah! I live right across the street from Pomelo. On lazy days when I can’t deal with cooking (rare, but it happens), I get the Otsu, and grill my own shrimp or beef and put it on top. Frankly, I could probably make my own given that I have most of the ingredients in my pantry most of the time. Yours looks lovely :)

  9. Pingback: Daring Cooks: Cold Soba Salad and Tempura « Tasty Eats At Home

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