Navigating Foreign Aisles May 15, 2013

Filed Under: Uncategorized - Sue Fuirst @ 9:04 pm
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Picture this, the other day I was confidently walking through a new-to-me Asian market.  This place is the real deal – all of the fruit is exotic and all of the packaging is in the native language, of which I have no knowledge and no way to distinguish Vietnamese from Chinese.  I came with a friend to check the store out and to purchase miso, tamari and a few other pantry staples.  Did I say confidently?  Not so much!  When I finally located the miso aisle (yes, an entire 5-foot refrigerated section dedicated to miso paste), I spent 15 minutse staring at the choices and trying to make my selection; not easy to do when all of the labels are in Japanese. I was bemused and amused.  Upon entering the store, I assumed I knew what I wanted, but when faced with so many choices I froze.  Panic and price forced me to make a decision.  That, and my friend Victoria, phoning from the frozen food aisle, with the fava beans I needed, asking where I disappeared to.

Why this story?  What’s the moral?  To make you feel better when standing in the A&P completely unsure of what you are buying.  I’m just a phone call away for assistance.

sesame miso soba noodles

 8 oz package soba noodles

1 Tb grapeseed or canola oil

4 cups assorted vegetables such as sliced mushrooms, bean sprouts, scallions, edamame and shredded vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, broccoli, asparagus or bell peppers

1/3 cup white miso paste

2 Tb agave syrup or sugar

¼  cup tahini paste

2 Tb tamari or soy sauce

½  teaspoon grated ginger

½  teaspoon shirachi or Asian chili paste

½  cup warm water

2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds, optional

2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro, optional

Kosher salt and ground pepper


Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add vegetables and cook folding once or twice until crisp tender, about five minutes.  Transfer to large bowl to cool.  Season with salt and pepper.


Cook soba noodles according to package directions.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Add to bowl with vegetables.


Add miso, agave, tahini, tamari, ginger, shirachi and water to bowl of a blender.  Pulse until tahini and miso are well blended.


Dress soba with ½ cup miso/sesame dressing.  Toss to combine, top with sesame seeds or cilantro and serve at room temperature.  Makes a great side dish or alternative to pasta primavera for a meatless, vegan meal.


Remaining dressing can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.