Happy second anniversary to my husband Matt! These last two years have been a crazy adventure living in Japan and travelling the world with him. We are actually in Seoul, South Korea for the long weekend to celebrate. I didn’t think at the time we set our date that a holiday weekend would have been such a good choice but especially being stationed with the Marines here it has been great. They get four day weekends for the holidays and we get them as well so it makes it possible to get a quick, cheap flight to places I would never have guessed I would go. I feel incredibly lucky to have a wonderful husband like him to experience all of these adventures with. These last two years have been an incredible journey with my best friend.
Ok, ok enough of the lovey dovey stuff.
I have a little bit of culinary leverage right now. I convinced Matt that eggplant was edible when I made Smoky Eggplant Dip and so, yesterday we tried out this soba dish. Soba noodles are Japanese buckwheat noodles, a specialty of Hoikkado, the most northern island of Japan. Since Japanese food is gaining popularity back in the states and around the world, these noodles are becoming more mainstream even back in the states. Here in Japan, of course you can buy them pre made at the grocery store but it is a fine art to making the perfect noodle that the chefs in Hoikkaido do best.
Buckwheat noodles have a little more earthiness and complexity than whole wheat noodles and I strongly encourage you to give them a try. They pair gorgeously with basil and eggplant and this simple dish is the perfect summer noodle dish when eggplant and basil are fresh.
- 8 ounces soba noodles
- 3 cups chopped eggplant, ½ inch dice
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts, coarsely chopped***
- 1 pound chicken cut into one inch chunks
- ½ cup fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic
- sesame seeds for garnish
- 1 cup cup rice vinegar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon Siracha
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- ***If you can't find fresh bean sprouts you can simply omit them or used canned but be sure to drain well.
- Cook soba according to directions. Rinse with cool water and drain.
- In a medium bowl mix chopped eggplant and bean sprouts. In another shallow bowl, place chopped chicken.
- Mix all ingredients for marinade. Pour half marinade over chicken and half over eggplant mixture. Let marinate for 15-30 minutes.
- In a wok over medium high heat, add ½ Tablespoon sesame oil and heat to shimmering. Add chicken without the marinade and cook for several minutes until chicken is cooked through but still tender. Remove chicken from wok and set aside in another bowl. Wipe wok.
- Add remaining ½ Tablespoon sesame oil to wok. Over medium heat, add garlic and let cook for a few minutes. Add eggplant and bean sprouts again without the marinade, reserve. Cook for several minutes until tender. Add noodles and chicken. Add ½ -2/3 cup marinade left from the eggplants. Cook for a few minutes until everything is hot. Remove from heat and stir in basil chiffonade.
- Serve and top with sesame seeds.