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    Half-sour cucumbers, hold the salt

    Half-sour cucumbers, hold the salt

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    Copyright 2008-2015Slow Food Fast. All writing and images on this blog unless otherwise attributed or set in quotes are the sole property of Slow Food Fast. Please contact DebbieN via the comments form for permissions before reprinting or reproducing any of the material on this blog.

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Real Soba

Happy New Year! The LA Times just published a feature on New Year celebrations in Japan. The  December 30th article on making your own soba or buckwheat noodles has instructions and demo pictures from a professional soba chef–and the traditional recipe contains…no salt. At all. Contrast that with any of the store-bought brands here in the U.S. It also has a lot more buckwheat than the store-bought types, using a ni-hachi (2:8) proportion of wheat to buckwheat, so it probably has a lot more buckwheat flavor. Worth a try, and if you’re not sure you know how to knead to the right texture by hand, you might be able to knead the dough in a food processor to get it very smooth and elastic before rolling it out.  Traditional Soba from the LA Times

The dipping sauce recipes that accompany the soba article are no bargain sodium-wise, and they contain a lot of sugar as well as a lot of soy sauce mixed in with the dashi stock, but at least the noodles themselves aren’t adding to the problem. You could use low-sodium soy sauce and less of it; you could also decide not to follow tradition and use a different dipping sauce with more substance and less reliance on salt and sugar for flavor. Here are two possibilities (quantities are loosely something like half a cup to a cup). Neither is Japanese but they both taste good with soba.

Dipping Sauce for Jao Tze (why not, it’s good with soba too)

  • 1/4 c. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. vinegar–red wine, apple cider, or rice vinegar
  • dollop (~1-2 T.) dark molasses–this takes some stirring to mix with the thinner liquids
  • ~1/2 t. grated ginger
  • 1 scallion fairly finely chopped
  • few drops toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 t. dab of z’khug or a bit of minced garlic, some hot pepper flakes to taste, and a bit of chopped cilantro if you have it

Peanut Curry Sauce

Serve this sauce cold or at room temperature to avoid the yogurt breaking down. If you add some lightly nuked or steamed fresh brussels sprouts (they look nice cut in halves) or other cruciferous vegetables and some hard-boiled eggs or tofu on the side, you have a pretty substantial lunch or a light supper.

  • 1-2 T. chunky unsalted natural peanut butter (peanuts only)
  • 1/2-1 c. plain nonfat yogurt (milk and cultures only)
  • 1 t. curry powder (unsalted)
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed/grated/minced
  • 1/2 t. mashed or grated ginger
  • 1-2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
  • juice of half a lime (best), lemon (ok), or 1-2 T. vinegar to taste
  • hot pepper flakes to taste
  • optional additions: scallion, finely chopped; few drops toasted sesame oil; pinch or so of sugar
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