Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Miso Lime Green Tea Noodles with Tempeh, Kale, and Watermelon Radish

Have you ever meandered through a grocery store, not really looking for anything in particular, and with no clue what to make for dinner? I'm sure you have. :)  Sometimes, I just buy ingredients based on their 'wow' factor, but have no idea how (or if) the pieces will fit together.  The other day, I picked up two interesting looking ingredients:  green tea noodles (cha soba) and a watermelon radish.  I hadn't cooked with either ingredient before.  I just thought green and pink would look really great together! I knew kale and tempeh would also be involved, because kale and tempeh are always involved these days.  As for the sauce, I wanted something creamy and proceeded to throw a bunch of things in my personal blender.  Freestyle cooking at its best!

These Hakubaku green tea noodles really smell like green tea once you open the package.  But after boiling them, they taste pretty much like regular noodles...that happen to be green.  They're made of wheat flour, buckwheat flour, green tea powder, and water.

Here's the inside of a watermelon radish.  Beautiful, eh?  I'm so amazed by the vibrant colors of some fruits and vegetables!  Eaten raw, watermelon radishes taste similar to regular radishes...very peppery, but milder. They're also as big as beets.  Although raw watermelon radishes taste just fine to me, I thought I'd steam them to buffer some of the peppery-ness in this dish.

Makes 2 servings

1/2 cup raw hemp seeds
1/3 cup water
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 tablespoon tamari
2 teaspoons (or more) sriracha sauce (or other chili sauce), optional
1 7 oz. package of green tea noodles
1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
1 small bunch of kale, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil, for frying
1 8 oz. package of tempeh, cut into cubes
Black sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Prepare the sauce:  Blend the hemp seeds, water, lime juice, miso paste, tamari, and sriracha sauce (if using) in a personal blender or mini food processor until smooth.  (You can heat the sauce if you'd like, but I just ate it at room temperature)
  2. Boil the noodles according to the package instructions (about 4 minutes or so).  Drain the noodles in a colander and set aside.
  3. Place the radish slices and chopped kale in a steamer basket/pot over boiling water, cover, and steam for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
  4. While the vegetables are steaming, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the tempeh cubes and fry on each side until golden.
  5. Plating:  Place 2 to 4 radish slices on a plate.  Add a layer of noodles, followed by some kale, and then some tempeh cubes.  Drizzle everything with the sauce (I like to use a squeeze bottle for this). Garnish with black sesame seeds.
If you're an Instagram user like me, you'll take about a million photos of the dish before digging in.  When you're ready to eat, just mix everything together on the plate and go for it!  I ended up cutting up the radish slices so that I could have a piece with each bite.  The radish will bleed into the sauce and noodles, so be prepared for a little pretty in pink action. :)  The sauce was reminiscent of some peanut-based and cashew-based sauces that I've made.  Hemp seeds are great because there's no need to soak them beforehand and because they're so small, you'll have hemp seed butter within seconds to add creaminess to your homemade sauces.  

I thought the green tea noodles were tasty, but no different from other soba noodles.  They make for a great presentation, for sure.  I love creating colorful meals, so I see myself using green tea noodles again in the future. As for the watermelon radish?  I'm in love.  Pink is the new yum. :)