Asian style soba noodle soup with assorted mushrooms and brinjal
Asian style soba noodles soup with mushrooms and brinjal. Yes, that’s what I made during the monsoon here in Dehradun and it has been repeated a few times since the temperature started dropping and it was full blown winter before we could realise. This light soup meal is perfect for the season, full of umami flavours and sufficiently warming for the system.
The best part of this recipe of Asian style soba noodle soup with mushrooms and brinjal is, that you don’t need too many ingredients to cook it in an Indian kitchen. You can replace the assorted dried mushrooms I have used with the readily available button mushrooms and if you don’t have Chinese five spice powder you can just skip adding it, or may be add a few star anise flowers in the simmering broth to make it more aromatic.
The recipe can be tweaked to suit your taste and availability of ingredients. I recommend adding the brinjal slices even if you are not a fan of brinjal because thiss kind of flavours give brinjal a new life of its own. Just take care to not overcook the brinjal slices else they will disintegrate and the soup will get all cloudy and muddled.
You can add a fired end on top of the Asian style soba noodle soup with mushrooms and brinjal to make it more filling. But please don’t change the process of making the broth because that’s where the soul of this recipe lies.
You can replace soba noodles with egg noodles or whole buckwheat grains if you wish, or you can replace noodles with wild black rice may be. Such soup meals have evolved to include whatever you want and whatever is in the season. If not brinjal, you can add lightly torn water spinach to the soup or even baby spinach. The choices are endless.
Here is the recipe of what I made and something that can become your go to recipe for such a nutritious bowl of soba noodle soup with mushrooms and brinjal.
2-3 dried black mushrooms
2-3 dried monkey head mushrooms
3-4 dried oyester mushrooms
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 round brinjal sliced to make 8 thick slices
3-4 tbsp chopped springs onions (white parts)
2 tbsp chopped green parts of spring onions for garnish
2-3 tbsp chopped stems of coriander
2 tbsp chopped leaves of coriander
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced hot red chilies
2 tsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 tbsp sesame oil
Few strands of soba noodles (include enough to suit your portion size)
Few coriander stems, and one spring onion to make the broth
Salt to taste
Rinse the mushrooms well before soaking or proceeding to cook directly.
You can soak the dry mushrooms overnight or till they are well hydrated and start cooking after that or start from scratch when required. If you start with dry mushrooms it takes about 40-60 minutes of simmering to cook the mushrooms.
If you have soaked the mushrooms, use the soaking water to make the broth.
Add the dry mushrooms to 1 liter of water in a stock pot and start cooking the broth. Make a bundle of the coriander stems and spring onion and put them into the broth, add salt and pepper, simmer till the mushrooms are cooked. Fish out the mushrooms once they are cooked and cut them into bite sized strips. Once the broth is ready you can fish out the bundle of coriander stems and spring onion and discard. Strain the broth if required and add the soba noodles to cook in it, add a little more water if required.
While the broth is simmering, rub salt on the brinjal slices and keep aside for five minutes.
Smear a little oil in a wide cast iron pan and spread the brinjal slices, grill till they are a little soft and get some roasted marks on them. Keep aside.
Add remaining oil in the pan, add the minced garlic, spring onions and hot red chilies and cook till they all get a bit fragrant, now add the sliced mushrooms and sauté briefly for a couple of minutes. Add minimal salt, pepper, Chinese five spice powder, soy sauce and toss together.
Now pour the prepared broth along with soba noodles. Add the brinjal slices and let it come to a gentle simmer before serving the noodle soup with the help of a large ladle. Take care to serve a few slices of brinjal, enough mushrooms strips and soba noodles in each bowl or soup mug, garnish with chopped spring onion and coriander leaves.
You can drizzle a little sesame oil on top if you wish.