Recipe Box: Citrus Ginger Soba Noodles with Shrimp

urt had a hankering. He wanted a big bowl of noodles. The salty, sloppy kind of noodles swimming in a pool of ginger broth. As I considered the noodles, I imagined a grown up version of ramen. It had been ages since I slurped a ramen noodle.

So we decided to try and make our own. Yum! It was delicious, fast and very easy, requiring just a few ingredients. Perfect comfort food for a lazy, rainy day.

For our recipe, you can use udon or rice noodles, but we opted for the heartier soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat and are wonderfully nutty and coarse in texture. In Japan, soba noodles became wildly popular during the 17th and 18th centuries. The city dwellers of Tokyo, being considerably wealthier than the rural poor, were dropping like flies from thiamine deficiency due to their mass consumption of white rice. To alleviate the crisis, soba noodles arrived on the scene and basically saved the day. Soba is very rich in thiamine, as well as protein, zinc and selenium. These noodles are also gluten-free, and a good source of slow-release carbs. It's probably the healthiest noodle in the world! Maybe. Or the most delicious.

8 cups vegetable stock*
1/2 cup peeled fresh ginger, roughly chopped into large pieces
2 cups sliced mushrooms (we used a variety of wild mushrooms)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cups green onion, chopped
12 oz. cooked shrimp, shelled and deveined with tails removed
juice of one lemon or lime
2 bundles of soba noodles

In a large stock pot, bring the stock to a gentle boil.
Add ginger and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove ginger from pot.
Add mushrooms and soba noodles to broth. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until noodles are tender.
Add shrimp and simmer for one more minute. Season with salt to taste.
Add citrus juice, cilantro and and green onion right before serving.

*I like to make my own stock from vegetable scraps collected throughout the week. Onion peels, potato skins, seedy bell pepper cores - nothing goes to waste! I keep the scraps frozen in a freezer bag and add to it as I go, sometimes tossing in a cheese rind or a handful of shrimp shells - anything that will add flavor. When it's time to make stock, I dump the contents of my freezer bag into a stock pot, submerge its contents in water and simmer on low for a few hours. Then, I strain the stock through a colander (skim the fat off the top if the stock includes meat) and freeze or refrigerate it for later use. I like to freeze mine in ice trays so I can add just a few cubes at a time to my dishes. Wherever a recipe calls for water, I'll add stock instead for some extra umph. This particular batch was heavy on onion, which married up nicely with the ginger.

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