April is one of those months that teases. After cold winter nights and endless amounts of snow and frost, April is that month that whispers sweet nothings and tells you, soon, soon it'll all be over. She takes your hand and shows you the deep blue hyacinths and vibrant yellow crocuses, her sweet, blossom scented breath caresses your cheek.
And then, as you turn to meet her lavender eyes, she knees you in the crotch and punches you in the stomach with wild, blisteringly cold rain storms.
Heck, as I write this, sleet is bashing against our windows. Earlier this week, some of my students were wearing shorts.
This recipe is that warm blanket used on shock victims. Sink into its warmth and stay out of April's mood swings.
Soba with Beef and Onions in Shiitake Broth
(inspired by The Japanese Food Report)
3 cups water, divided
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
½ package (4g) dashi powder
4 tbsp soy sauce, divided
2 tbsp mirin
½ lb thinly sliced beef
1 medium onion, thinly sliced vertically
3 tbsp sake
2 tbsp sugar
4 oz dried soba noodles
shichimi spice powder to taste (Japanese 7 spice chili powder)
1 green onion, finely sliced
1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Soak dried mushrooms in water for 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms from liquid and set aside. Stir in 1½ cups water, dashi powder, 2 tbsp soy sauce and mirin. Bring to a simmer and keep warm on back burner while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
2. Cut rehydrated shittake mushrooms into 5-6 slices each.
2. Place beef, onion, mushrooms remaining soy sauce, ½ cup water, sugar and sake in a frying pan, and bring to a simmer. Let cook until beef is cooked, onion is meltingly tender and liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Cook soba noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, between 6-8 minutes. Divide between two large bowl. Top noodles with beef mixture. Gently ladle broth over noodles. Garnish with shichimi and green onions.