One of our favorite things about the start of a new year is setting goals like jump-starting a wellness-oriented year, or planning to travel to at least three cities we haven’t been to yet. This year, we are all about our goal of trying new things in the kitchen and beyond. We’ve turned to photographer, stylist, blogger, and recipe guru, Beth Kirby of Local Milk looking for her best post-holiday-binge-soup for cleansing, nourishing, and clearing the ole sinuses.
Beth’s Spicy Soba and Miso Soup is a detox must for all your post-holiday blues. If you haven’t been following her Instagram account and blog, we highly recommend taking a look at her gorgeous imagery and lovely recipes. Here she’s given us the 101 on all things Soba and she even tells us how to prepare the elusive “perfect” boiled egg to throw on top. We’ll let Beth take it from here.
Photography and words by Beth Kirby of Local Milk
What was the inspiration behind this dish?
Beth Kirby: I've been traveling to Japan for a couple of years now—next year we plan to spend over two months there—and Japanese flavors are a huge influence on my cooking. This recipe was inspired by both our travels in Japan and also by my pregnancy—miso & buckwheat noodles are two super ingredients!
Yield: 4 servings
960 grams (4 cups) water
20 grams (2.5 sheets) kombu
2 cloves garlic, crushed
20 grams (about 2 tablespoons) roughly chopped ginger
70 grams (about 4 tablespoons) white miso
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sambal oelek chili paste
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon ponzu
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 cups chopped dark leafy greens (chard, collards, kale, and spinach work well)
4 oz cooked soba noodles
2 scallions thinly sliced
togorashi shichimi (can sub sesame seed, chili flakes, & crumbled nori)
soft boiled egg, halved
tofu cubes (optional)
Cut slits in the kombu and combine with the water in a medium pot. Place over medium-low heat and slowly bring to a bare simmer, 20-30 minutes. Do not let it boil or the kombu will become slimy and bitter. Once done, remove from heat and skim out the kombu.
Add the garlic and ginger to the pot and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Skim or strain out the garlic and ginger.
While the broth simmers, cook your noodles and veggies. To cook the mushrooms, place them in a bit of sesame oil and cook them until they're soft and release their liquid. Then add the green to the pan and cook until just wilted. Set aside.
In a bowl combine the miso with enough of the broth to just dissolve the miso. Add the shoyu, sesame oil, chili paste, mirin, and ponzu. Stir to combine and add to the broth. Combine well. Broth will be strong, feel free to thin with a little water if it's too much for you, however keep in mind that this will be the primary seasoning of your noodles, so I recommend trying it with the noodles before thinning!
Divide noodles between two bowls. Top with greens & mushrooms (this would be the time to add the tofu if using!) and ladle broth over it all. Garnish with the scallions & shichimi as well as the egg. Slurp and enjoy!
OK! The perfect soft boiled egg - Will it take some practice to master this? Any tips?
Beth Kirby: Don't start your eggs in cold water. Set a timer. Immediately shock them in an icewater bath to stop them from cooking more (they continue to cook in their shells!). And you may have to play with the timing—I find different eggs cook differently sometime. I love the 5 minute egg. My husband loves the 6. If we're going for a little softer, it's 4. I'd start with 5 minutes and go up and down from there depending on how you like your egg!
Any recommendations for substitutions?
Beth Kirby: You could use udon or ramen noodles instead of the soba if you wanted to and any dark, leafy greens will do.
For the readers that are taking a step outside their comfort zone with the spicy-ness - What do you recommend for the dish and/or cooling down the tastebuds?
Beth Kirby: We recommend milk as it actually binds with the chili to cool your mouth down!
Photography + Recipe: Beth Kirby of Local Milk
MEET THE CORRESPONDENT
My philosophy is that regarding the quotidian as art down to the detail renders so much more out of life. That’s the aim of my work be it baking a pie, writing prose, styling a photo shoot or just a table, arranging foraged florals, hosting a gathering, teaching a workshop, or cooking a dinner. I strive to appreciate every scent, every texture, every season, every taste. I want to love my sugar bowl and my toothpaste, what I learn from conflict and from a weeping meringue. Sometimes beauty is very ugly, and sometimes the ugly is very beautiful. - Website