This is vitality in a one-dish meal. The combination of strengthening buckwheat noodles with the richness of batter-fried root and sweet vegetables works within a savory, gingered broth to create a strong body and clear mind. All that and it tastes great!
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 4 cups spring or filtered water
- ¼ cup organic soy sauce
- 1 (1-inch) piece kombu
- 1 to 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water until soft, stemmed
- 5 to 6 slices fresh ginger
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry or sprouted whole wheat flour
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 tablespoon kuzu root, dissolved in a small amount of cold water
- ¾ to 1 cup dark beer or sparkling water
- 8 ounces soba noodles
- 1 onion, sliced into thin rings
- 1 to 2 carrots, cut into thin oblong slices
- 1 medium burdock root, cut into thin oblong slices
- 1 small sweet potato, cut into thin oblong slices
- Handful cremini mushrooms, brushed free of dirt, halved
- 2 stalks broccoli, cut into small florets
- 2 quarts avocado or non-GMO sunflower oil, for frying
- 2 to 3 fresh scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for serving
To make the Dashi
- Combine the water, soy sauce, kombu, shiitakes, and ginger in a pot. Bring to a boil, covered. Reduce the heat to low and remove the kombu, shiitakes, and ginger. Slice the shiitakes and kombu into thin pieces and return them to the broth. Discard the ginger. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, covered, to develop the flavors. To make the Tempura Batter
- Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Stir in the dissolved kuzu root. Slowly add the beer or sparkling water to form a thin, spoonable batter, taking care that it’s not too runny. Set the batter aside for 10 minutes before using. The sparkling water or beer and the kuzu are what will make your coating crispy, so they are important ingredients. To make the Noodles and Vegetables
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook noodles according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse well. Set the noodles aside in the colander while you cook the vegetables, as they will need a quick rinse to loosen them before serving.
- Spread the vegetables on a platter for easy access and place the bowl of tempura batter next to them. Heat about 3 inches of oil in a deep pot over medium heat. To make sure the oil is hot enough to start frying, submerge a pair of chopsticks in the oil. If bubbles accumulate around the chopsticks, the oil is ready. Raise the heat to high and, working in batches, begin dipping the vegetables into the tempura batter and dropping them gently into the oil. Fry until crispy and golden brown. The average frying time is 1 to 2 minutes try not to leave the vegetables in the oil too long or they will be oily instead of crispy. Drain well on parchment paper or paper towels. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. You may want to keep the fried veggies in a warm oven (200°F) to keep them crisp while you continue to work.
- To assemble, rinse the noodles quickly and mound in individual serving bowls. Ladle the broth over the noodles and top generously with the tempura veggies. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh scallions.