If there is anything I love more than steak, it’s perfectly browned, ground beef. Ground beef can be eaten with literally anything, from tacos to noodles – which makes it perfect for this dish which just popped out of my head.
I was looking at a recipe for salad soba the other day. Having never cooked soba before, I thought of trying it out, but a salad soba sounds too boring for my tastebuds. So I thought, why not mix it with some ground beef for texture? Then, I fretted over the flavor. I researched a few different recipes and decided to settle for an Asian-type sauce (which I totally made up, and am very pleased with). If anything noodley is your type of comfort food, then this definitely would make your day. The recipe below serves two very nicely.
500g ground beef
1 packet soba noodles
1 carrot, chopped into tiny cubes
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
salt & coarse black pepper, to taste
You should first start off by preparing your ingredients, getting them chopped and peeled first. I bought two packets of soba noodles, but I ended up only using one, and also one carrot instead of two. I guess this also depends on how much you really like carrots.
Remember, we only want the first half of the scallions, discard the thicker parts and the roots on the lower half. It gives a very subtle flavor to the dish, and it also adds a nice touch of color.
Once you have all the ingredients prepped, boil a pot of water, seasoned with about two pinches of salt. Put the soba noodles in. This is just like cooking spaghetti – as the submerged areas become softer in the water, start pushing it in bit-by-bit until all noodles are submerged. You can follow the packet instructions (mine was in Japanese so I went with my instinct) or leave it to cook for about 5-7 minutes until it is al dente. Remember to stir occasionally to avoid the noodles sticking to the bottom of the pot.
While your soba is cooking, start seasoning your ground beef in a bowl. Just about 3 pinches of salt and a few sprinkles of black pepper would seal the deal. If you are an avid black pepper lover like me, just go crazy and add in as much as you like. Mix everything with your hands until all are well-combined.
Now make the sauce. Pour the soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil in a bowl and stir to mix with a spoon. At this point, you can taste the sauce and see how delicious this brilliant combination is.
Your soba noodles should be done by now. Drain them in a colander and wash with cold water to stop them from cooking any further. Set aside.
Oil your skillet with canola oil (or vegetable oil) and turn the heat on high. Make sure you oil every area of the pan to avoid your meat from sticking to it later on. When the pan starts smoking a little, throw in the shallots.
Shallots give off a very lovely smell when cooked. Stir it around until it starts browning slightly. Then pop in the seasoned ground beef.
Mix it all up and be sure to break up any large chunks of meat so that it will all cook evenly. Keep tossing is about. At this point, you will start seeing juices that are being released from the meat pooling at the bottom of the pan. Stir the meat to evenly distribute the juices so that they would start evaporating because browned beef should be dry and not wet.
After about 3 minutes, the juices should have receded. This is the time to throw in your carrots and scallions. Because the carrots are thrown in this late in the cooking stage, you will have very crunchy and juicy carrots, and your scallions will not be soggy.
Mix everything together for another minute or so, then remove the beef and vege mix from the pan into a bowl, but do not turn off the fire. Turn the heat down to medium and toss your sauce and soba into the pan. The leftover juices from cooking the meat will flavor your noodles very nicely with the sauce.
Stir to mix, but be careful to not let the soba stay stagnant for long, or it will stick to the pan. You should be done mixing in less than a minute, then once the sauce is well mixed into the soba noodles, turn off the fire.
Gather the noodles into a bowl, and top it with the beef. Enjoy it hot.
Pretty simple, huh? It’s very easy to make as well. As long as your prep your ingredients beforehand, you shouldn’t have any trouble transitioning from one step to the next. I can absolutely eat this for a week, it is that good, and I know you will enjoy it too. 🙂