Not long ago I was flipping channels trying to find anything decent on TV and I came across a clip of an old man making soba noodles.
Watching him was fascinating. It was like watching a sculptor sculpt or a painter paint. He was a master and it was actually a very beautiful process.
I tried to find a similar clip to share with you, but everything I came across online was super instructional and really fell short in capturing what I saw.
So, you’ll just have to trust me that it was inspiring. Well, as inspiring as noodles can be.
That night I tucked the cool soba clip in the back of my mind and moved on to more channel surfing.
I’ve decided that TV sucks and there is nothing on the telly that captures my attention anymore. I guess that’s a good thing, but sometimes you just want to zone out in front of the tube and I can no longer enjoy that simple pleasure.
Back to soba…
I make it my mission each week to find a few vegetarian meals for the menu. I think Americans tend to eat entirely too much meat, so making a few vegetarian meals each week makes me think I’m bringing down the average and saving a few cows and chickens to boot.
Hey, it might be a small thing, but it makes me feel like I’m saving the world. So there.
This recipe caught my eye for a few reasons:
- it called for soba noodles (yay!)
- it had a peanut sauce (one of Andy’s favorite things)
- it was vegetarian
- it was cheap
- it only took 25 minutes to make
I’ve had a few people comment that they are hesitant to make new recipes because it costs too much to take the gamble on an experimental meal.
Here’s my argument for that…
Many of us will easily drop $6 on a value meal from McDonald’s and not think much of it.
It’s fast, we’re in a hurry, and it tastes good going down. Even though I hardly eat them anymore, I’m a big fan of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese value meal. Just the smell of that delicious grease as I drive by the golden arches is often enough to make me want to pull over and give them all my money just to get that goodness in me. Yum!
Ok, enough about the garbage disguised as food that we all know and love.
So we agree that a fast food combo meal is something many of us will make room in the budget for from time to time.
Well, this meal is a tasty, veggie-rich dinner option that serves 4 people and will only cost you $8.57 and about 25 minutes!
Let’s first give credit where credit is due. Budget Bytes is an AWESOME website for planning meals and sticking to a budget. Beth, the website’s creator, has great taste in food and breaks down each step of the cooking process (with photos!) as well as the cost for each recipe. It’s seriously cool. You should bookmark her page and check it out on the regular.
Peanut Soba Stir Fry (check out the original recipe for step by step photos!)
2 inches fresh ginger, grated (don’t substitute ground ginger, it’s not the same. If you don’t have a small grater, you can just chop up the peeled ginger into very small bits)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/3 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon siracha hot sauce (I used 1 teaspoon. You could probably substitute Frank’s Red Hot if that’s what you have on hand or you could skip it and be OK)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb frozen stir fry vegetables (I used 1.5lbs which was a bag and a half because I wanted more veggies)
8 oz soba noodles (cooked according to the package directions – these were not sold at Kroger, but the Meijer ethnic section had several varieties)
2 green onions, sliced
STEP 1: Prepare the sauce first. Peel and grate one inch of ginger into a bowl. Add the peanut butter, hoisin sauce and sriracha hot sauce, and 1/3 cup of hot water. Stir or whisk until smooth. Set the sauce aside until it is needed.
STEP 2: Prepare a very large skillet or wok with 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Grate another inch of ginger into the oil. Mince two cloves of garlic and add to the oil as well. Turn the heat up to medium high and saute for 1-2 minutes.
STEP 3: Add the bag of frozen vegetables and cook until heated through. Use as large of a skillet as possible so that the residual moisture from the vegetables will evaporate quickly. Over crowding the skillet will leave you with a soupy mess. Cook veggies in 2 batches if your pan isn’t big enough to cook them all without crowding. Frozen vegetables are blanched prior to freezing so they will already be slightly cooked and soft. Stir fry vegetables should still have a slight crunch and vibrant color. Do not cook them until they are very soft and dull in color.
STEP 4: While the vegetables are cooking, bring a medium pot of water up to a rolling boil. Add the soba noodles and cook until soft (according to the directions on the package!). Drain the noodles in a colander.
STEP 5: Once the vegetables have cooked, add the drained noodles and peanut sauce. Stir until everything is combined and coated with sauce. Garnish with sliced green onions.
STEP 6: Enjoy!
Using the Lose It app on my phone, I entered the ingredients for this recipe and determined there to be about 396 Calories per serving.
You may be saying to yourself, “There’s no way that recipe cost $8.57 unless I have half the ingredients in my pantry!”
Ok, fine. Maybe it’s a little more, but not much. I’m betting you have peanut butter, vegetable oil and probably garlic around your house. If so, all you need is:
Hoisin Sauce which I picked up for $3
Fresh Ginger which literally costs less than a dollar and is usually found near the mushrooms at the grocery.
Siracha Hot Sauce which you can skip if you don’t want to invest in a bottle.
Frozen Stir Fry Veggies which will set you back about $1.94
Soba Noodles which were about $2.50
Green Onions which are optional but will cost about $1 for a bunch
That’s a total of $9.24 if you have peanut butter, veg oil and garlic, but need to buy the rest. Still pretty darn good for 4 servings ($2.31/serving)!