And what did I make to appease my growling tummy? A piping hot bowl of Tori Nanban Soba (Japanese Chicken soba with leek).
Crazy, I know. But sometimes, I really do find it enjoyable to bury my face in a comforting bowl of Soba – even when it’s warm, humid and sticky. But by the end of the meal, I was dripping with perspiration – as though I was in a sauna room - and needed another shower. It was then that I wished I was back in the cool Melbournian weather; then I would have all the excuses to delight in some wonderful soba.
For my friends who are feeling the chill in the southern hemisphere, I hope this bowl of chicken soba would provide you with the warmth that you need as it becomes colder. This recipe is really simple, and is perfect for times when you need a heart-warming dish that can be put together within 10 minutes.
My dad shared with me the story behind this dish (I don’t know how credible that is though), and I thought it is interesting enough for me to tell you about it! Tori means ‘chicken’ in Japanese, while Nanban literally means ‘southern barbarians’. When foreigners (the Portuguese traders) first arrived in Japan, they came in by ships from the south; and because their mannerism was socially unacceptable back then, they earned the reputation of being ‘barbarians’. The term ‘nanban’ was subsequently used on Europeans and South-east Asians entering Japan. In ancient times, chicken was not part of the Japanese diet, and it was the foreigners who introduced chicken to the Japanese diet. Consequently, the addition of chicken to soba was also inspired by the foreigners during that period.
Chicken Soba with Leek (Tori Nanban Soba)
90g dry soba noodles
50g chicken breast/thigh, bite-sized
1/3 cup leek, sliced
1/3 cup carrots, matchstick (optional)
300ml dashi (or 300ml water + dashi powder)
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp tamari/ soy sauce
1 tbsp sake
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
Chili powder (optional) – I used Japanese 7-spices chili powder
- Boil soba according to package instructions; drain and rinse with running water when cooked. Set aside in a bowl.
- In a pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add sliced leek, chicken and carrot into the pot, and sauté for about 3 minutes until chicken is lightly browned.
- Add dashi, mirin, soy sauce and sake to the pot and boil for 3 minutes. Transfer broth to the bowl of soba noodles. Serve. Enjoy!
Gluten-free: Use tamari sauce.
Have you had a piping hot bowl of soup in summer?