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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Sunday, January 29, 2006

IMBB: Sake steak and soba noodles

Served cold, because it's stupidly hot and humid here in Melbourne. Humid?? Melbourne never used to do humid! Apparently now we do. Hate it. Hate it!
This IMBB has the theme of noodles, which I thought I may not enter because I'm not eating noodles at the moment, but then I remembered Japanese soba noodles, made from buckwheat flour. Having just returned from Japan, I fell for these nutty, slightly grainy-textured noodles and chose them over udon noodles in all my soups. Don't like udon so much. Remind me of witchetty grubs. :-)
Since returning I've also been taken with the idea of using sake in my cooking (keep an eye out for some "boozy potatoes" I plan to make soon), and I recalled this Nigella recipe, from Feast. She uses basmati rice, but I reckoned it'd be just as good with soba noodles. Better suited to the weather too.
You marinate your meat (and apparently this recipe works equally well with steak, chicken, duck etc.) and then make up a sauce which uses sake as the base. I planned to marinate my meat for about 2 hours, but through a series of events, got around to cooking it 3 days later. So well and truly marinated it was. You can use either hot English mustard or wasabi in this, and I went the wasabi route in the marinade. By the time I got around to making the sauce, 3 days later, I decided to try a bit of both and see how that turned out. Well, I say. So, I reckon either would do.

Tastewise, this is excellent. There's certainly a reason why Nigella says she "cooks this more often than I cook anything else, bar the roast chicken, in my repertoire" and she says she always has a couple of bags marinating meat on the go in her fridge. The coriander on top and fish sauce in the dressing turn this into a more pan-Asian dish, and well-suited for eating cold. I felt the marinade was a little too heavy on the Worcestershire sauce, of which I'm not a fan, so I might cut down on this next time. But it's easy, it's tasty, it's meaty, it's saucy - what more can you ask?
Read on for the recipe:

Sake Steak and Soba Noodles
Adaped from Feast, Nigella Lawson.
Serves 2

2 x 150g fillet steaks
1 packet Japanese soba (buckwheat) noodles
1-2 tablespoon of fresh coriander, to serve

For the marinade:
1 teaspoon hot English mustard, or wasabi paste
1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoons chilli oil

For the sauce:
60 ml sake
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla) or brown rice vinegar
few drops Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot English mustard or wasabi paste

-In a freezer bag, combine the marinade ingredients and add the steaks. Leave to marinate for a few hours or in the fridge up to 2 days.

-Let the steaks come to room temperature before cooking, and put on the soba noodles (follow instructions on the packet). The noodles only take a few minutes to cook.

-Heat a ridged griddle and give the steaks, out of their marinade, 2 minutes a side or so, and remove the steaks, double-wrapping them in foil parcels. Let them rest for 10 minutes on a wooden board or pile of newspapers.

-Bring the sake to boil in a tiny little saucepan to let the alcohol taste evaporate. Take the pan off the heat and add the other sauce ingredients. Unwrap the steaks, removing them to a wooden boards for carving and pour the red juices gathered in the foil parcels into the pan of sauce.

-Arrange the soba noodles on plates and slice the steaks into thin diagonal slices. Lay the carved steak on top of the noodles and spoon over the sauce. Scatter coriander on top.

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  • Niki, this looks fantastic. Though it really is the opposite of hot here, so I think I would either try it warm or wait for summer!

    By Blogger Unknown, at 1/30/2006 03:20:00 am  

  • Niki - this does sound good and I'll bet it would be equally good heated. I can't remember if I've had soba noodles before (I think I probably had udon), but they sound wonderful. Did you have any trouble with the texture of the meat after marinating for 3 days?

    By Blogger Cathy, at 1/30/2006 05:21:00 am  

  • Yum. Sounds delicious. I love any soy marinade and I agree, I far prefer soba over udon. Zaru soba was my fave feed in Japan!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/30/2006 12:43:00 pm  

  • This looks very appetizing! Can I have a bite?? Love the look of your blog!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/31/2006 12:12:00 am  

  • Matt would so totally eat this...and I hear you about the humidity. Eastern Tennessee seems to be nothing but humidity from late April through late September!

    And poor little me...just wilts like a flower...

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 1/31/2006 05:22:00 am  

  • I once made this and it was YUM! I found that with rice, the absorbed sake sauce made the rice so moreish that before I knew it, I'd wolfed down all my rice!

    Did you have to make quite a lot of sauce to make sure the soba wasn't too dry?

    The traditional cold soba dish - serve with cold tsuyu (soy based) sauce, sprinkle of seaweed, wasabi -is great in summer.

    By Blogger Belinda, at 1/31/2006 05:23:00 pm  

  • Linda - This dish is supposed to be served warm, so you'd be on the right track there.

    Cathy - The meat was probably a little softer after 3 days in the liquid, but other than that I had no problems. It was really tasty too!

    AG - The texture of soba is really nice, and I like the buckwheat aspect, even if they're not 100% buckwheat.

    Bea - thank you!

    Stephanie - I think he'd like it too. I reckon he'd also like a recipe I'll post soonish for sake drenched crunchy potatoes, with soy sauce flavouring. They're very good!
    I've never been into humidity. Could never live in Sydney or anywhere north of there. Or anywhere in Asia, for that matter! I'm thinking of moving to Hobart or Canberra!

    Belinda - The cold soba dish was what I had originally planned for this event! But this popped up beforehand. There was quite a bit of sauce anyway, but not quite enough to drench the noodles, so the serving I had for lunch at work the next day didn't have so much. Interesting though that soba noodles don't dry out and clump together like spaghetti without sauce. They were still quite moist and I was't reaching for my glass of water too much.

    By Blogger Niki, at 2/01/2006 09:11:00 am  

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