This is one of those dishes that comes together very quickly, so it’s a good one to practice the French phrase ‘mise en place’ or, as I translate it, putting things in place. This is not my normal modus operandi but it makes for a much more peaceful meal prep.
If you have a steamer pot like this one where the steamer basket is suspended over the water, you can make this dish in one pot. Just remember to keep it on a low boil or it will boil over on you!
Make Sauce*: Whirl these sauce ingredients in a blender or whisk by hand and have at the ready:
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar**
¼ cup low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1½ tablespoons packed light brown sugar (or one heaping)
1 ½ tablespoons peanut butter (or one heapingl)
2 garlic cloves (minced if not using a blender)
1 ½ tsp. fresh grated ginger
½ tsp. crushed red pepper (or to taste)
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Add-ons at the end.
1 cup salad cucumber, diced (optional)
¼ cup chopped peanuts (optional)
Steam vegetables: Fill a steamer pot halfway up and set to boil. Chop 4 cups vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Here are some ideas and the order in which they should be layered to ensure even doneness (from bottom to top: 4 cups vegetables (ex: cauliflower, carrots, celery, broccoli, bell pepper, snow peas, zucchini). When pot is boiling, place steamer basket on top and replace lid. Set timer for 3 minutes.
Cook noodles: At three minutes, remove steamer basket and drop soba noodles into boiling water. Stir and replace steamer basket and lid. Boil noodles for 3-4 minutes. Remove steamer basket, drain noodles and return to hot pot. Dribble a little more toasted sesame oil—no more than a teaspoon over the noodles—so they will separate a bit.
Compose dish: Put vegetables and dressing into pot and toss to coat. Ladle dish onto hot plates and sprinkle with chopped nuts and cucumber, if desired. You can see from this dish, I used radishes and jicama because someone ate the peanuts before I could make the dish!
The photo looks plain, but trust me, this is so good. Great fast food.
*If you make double this sauce recipe and save half, I will give you a present (another super easy salad recipe—watch for it!)
**seasoned rice vinegar is sweetened. It’s the kind they use in sushi rice. If that’s all you have, reduce or omit the brown sugar.