|Posted on August 10, 2009 at 3:51 PM|
I have been back in Santa Monica for almost a week but I am still on Tokyo Time. I would love to slurp some of that handmade soba I had in Tokyo. But I don't have the tools to make handmade soba, not yet, so I am just going to make a quick lunch with dried soba noodles, which is also very good.
I already have the dipping sauce for the soba because my sister, Sachiko, and my little niece Miki and nephew Mako were over at my house for noodle slurping a few days ago. The left over batch is still fresh. In fact, the dipping sauce tastes better because I threw in a a couple of dried shitake mushrooms to enhance the flavor.
Normally, I make just a simple tamago omelete to accompany soba but there is a beautiful Wagyu flank steak marinating in some sesame oil, ginger and green onions. It looks too good. I want to eat it for lunch. Meat and Soba! A traditional soba eater would not serve beef with soba but, hey why not go modern. With some sliced tomatoes from my garden, chopped lettuce and green onions, the flank steak will make a very nice "side dish" to go with the soba. Yes, even a Wagyu-style steak is a humble being before soba.
Now you want to slurp the soba right away before they go limp. So grill the steak first grill and whle the steak is resting, boil the soba. Then while the soba is cooking, slice the steak. This way, you will have perfect timing.
FLANK STEAK WITH GINGER AND SCALLIONS
1 1/2 lbs pounds Kobe style Wagyu flank steak
1/4 cup roasted sesame oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbls soy sauce
2 Tbls wine vinegar
2 scallions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbls grated ginger juice
1/2 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
Garnishes - chopped lettuce, green onions, sliced tomatoes, lime wedges
In a flat container, mix the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, scallions, garlic, ginger juice, black pepper and salt to taste. Marinate the steak in the mixture for six hours to overnight, turning meat once or twice to coat thoroughly.
Preheat frying pan or grill for medium-high heat.
WIpe off the marinade. Grill or pan fry steak for 3-4 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. It is more tender and flavorful on the rare side.
Let the flank steak rest for a few minutes. Then Cut across the grain at an angle, about 1/2 inch or slightly wider. Serve the steak with sliced lettuce, tomatoes, chopped onions, and lime wedges.
Kitchen note: This piece of American Wagyu beef comes from the State of Washington. Like the true Wagyu (Japanese beef such as Kobe) , the American Wagyu (a cross between Angus and Wagyu) has nice marbelized juicy fat. It is pricy but less pricer than its Japanese cousin. I get American Wagyu beef at Vincent Foods Market in Brentwood. They have one of the best meat sections on the Westside.
COLD SOBA NOODLES WITH DIPPING SAUCE
For this lunch menu, make your life easy by fixing the dipping sauce the night before so it doesn't become a big cooking project on the day of the lunch. This is one of the easiest Japanese lunch I can think of if you follow what I do.
4 bunches of dried soba noodles (100 grams per person)
8 oz daikon radish, peeled and grated.
4 scallions, sliced thinly.
1 sheet of crumbled or cut nori seaweed (optional)
Wasabi, Shichimi peper - optional seasonings
Basic Dipping sauce (see below)
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. This water will be used to boil the noodles later.
First make the grated radish sauce. Peel and grate the radish. What you will get is a watery substance. Pour out most of the daikon juice and use the grated part but do not squeeze too much of the juice out. You want the grated radish to be juicy but not runny. Put it in a small bowl.
Slice the scallions and put them in a small bowl or next to the grated radish.
Cook the noodles in the boiling water for approximately 5 minutes. You want the soba noodles to be al dente. Prepare a large bowl with a dozen ice cubes. The ice water will be used to chill the soba noodles. Drain the cooked soba noodles in a strainer and rinse under cold running water to remove the starchy film. Transfer the soba noodles into the cold ice water and let the noodles chill for 1 minute. Drain the soba noodles in a strainer and serve on a flat basket or plate.
This bamboo basket serves as a strainer and a serving basket.
Bring the grated radish, wasabi and scallions, nori seaweed and the shichimi pepper to the table. Set the table with chopsticks, bowls for the dipping sauce.
Pour the chilled dipping sauce in the individual bowls.
Let everyone help themselves to the soba noodles. The way to eat soba is first you put some grated radish (about 1 teaspoon) or wasabi and a sprinkle of shichimi pepper into the dipping sauce. Take approximately one or two mouthfuls of noodles with a pair of chopsticks and dunk them into the sauce and eat them. Repeat until the noodles are gone.
Serve the soba noodles with the grilled Flank steak.
BASIC DASHI DIPPING SAUCE
This is an all purpose basic dipping sauce that I use for dipping Tempura, Soba, Somen noodles. You can use this as a basic recipe and make some adjustments with the seasonings to suit your palate. The sauce is sweetened with Mirin, sweet sake, which unlike sugar has more depth in flavor.
1 cup of Dashi (see Basics for Dashi broth recipe)
1/6 cup - light color soy sauce (Usukuchi-shoyu) or regular soysauce. (I prefer light color soysauce)
1/6 cup - Mirin, sweet sake
1/2 cup - bonito flakes
Bring the Dashi broth, soysauce and Mirin, sweet sake in a medium size pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Add the bonito flakes and let the flakes sink to the bottom. Strain broth. Discard bonito flakes. Let the broth cool down to room temperature. Refrigerate.
Makes about 11/4 cups of dipping sauce.
Keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days.