This is a typical Asian dish with warm, smooth and bright flavors. Soba noodles are typical Japanese noodles made of buckwheat and wheat flours (you can find soba and most of the ingredients in this recipe in any Asian store, Kaluystan’s in NYC, Whole Foods or online).
The velvety flavorful sauce is semi-sweet and made with tamarind concentrate and coconut milk, infused with bright tangy Asian flavors – lime, red Thai chili, crispy shallots, mint and fennel seed. The shrimp are grilled to perfection (you can also sauté them if desired), then tossed with the Soba noodles and sauce to make a light, refreshing dish for Springtime. Garnish with cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews or diced mango for some extra layers of flavor.
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
36 shrimp, cleaned and deveined
½ cup tamarind concentrate (or use paste dissolved in coconut milk, strained)
1 cup coconut milk
4 Keffir lime leaves (or 1 tablespoon lime zest)
1 red Thai chile, diced
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
½ cup rice vinegar
½ pound buckwheat soba noodles
3 tablespoons sesame oil
Garnishes: chopped cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews, diced mango
Heat a 6-inch sauté pan over a medium heat and add the oil and shallots. Cook the shallots until golden brown and slightly crisp. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
In a small bowl, mix the tamarind concentrate and coconut milk. Add the shrimp, lime leaves or zest, chili, mint, garlic, fennel seed, rice vinegar and crispy shallots together and let marinate for at least 1 hour up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.
Remove the shrimp from the marinade and reserve the marinade.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add the soba noodles. Immediately add a cup of cold water to the pot. When it comes back to a boil, drain the noodles. (You can also sauté the noodles in some sesame oil after boiling and draining them, over high heat to crisp them on the bottom before serving).
Heat a 10-inch sauté pan or a grill over high heat, cook shrimp for 6 minutes.
Pour the marinade into a 2-cup sauce pan and bring to a boil, and reduce until thickened. Return the reduced marinade to the shrimp and divide the noodles among plates (or a large serving platter for the table), and serve the shrimp with sauce over the warm noodles.
Garnish with desired toppings: cilantro, red pepper flakes, cashews, cubed mango.
Adapted from recipe by Richard Ruben, Techniques of Healthy Cooking, Institute of Culinary Education.
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