TOMATO CHICKEN SOBA

Many colleagues of mine are working mums, but I will say they are super mums. The idea of them making diligent efforts at work to be competent and rushing back home to prepare dinner for their family is undeniably admirable.

When we are racing against time, it's effortless to order take outs, or in Mandarin we call it 打包 (da bao) food home for the family. Convenience is key, which results to busy individuals relying on outside food to fix their three meals. Nevertheless, nutrition is still paramount. A conscious, considerable, small effort to prepare a less salt and less oil for one out of three meals in a day, makes a slight impact to our bodies and wellness over time. 

Therefore, it takes baby steps to brighten our weekday dinners with a simple, healthy Tomato Chicken Soba that can be served in a jiffy. This process is streamlined so that it takes no more than 30 minutes.  A sweet tasting dinner is what we are looking for, and kids love it!

In this recipe, fresh, juicy tomatoes and chicken steaks go for a steam,  and that makes the step to prepare a dressing sauce totally redundant, which is commonly required in other dry noodle recipes. 

The steaming process forms a crimson pool of natural tomato sauce, with gold spots glistening on the surface. It has more than enough sauce to drizzle over cooked soba straight away.

This is why we should always go fresh, don't rely too much on store bought tomato sauces for the sweetness.

Soba is another essential ingredient added to my kitchen recently. The nutty flavour noodle is made from buckwheat flour, its thickness is pretty similar to angel hair pasta. That means it takes less than 8 minutes to cook them!  

Here are the reasons why I start stocking up Soba:

  • A low calorie diet (doesn't mean you need less): Soba is great source in protein, iron,  and fibre. 1 cup of cooked noodles boosts 24% manganese a woman needs a day.
    • Manganese is essential for healthy bone growth and structure, especially increasing the mineral density of the spinal bone. 
    • Manganese-activated enzymes help in the metabolism of cholesterol, amino acids, and carbohydrates. 
    • Alleviate the PMS, headaches, depression and irritability to a considerable extent.
  • Gluten-free (wheat-free option) However, do read the food labels to ensure that the soba is made up of 100% buckwheat flour.
  • Versatility. Perfect on its own with a dipping sauce when it's chilled, or heat it up and stir-fry it with whatever protein you like. 

If you are considering to switch from wheat pasta to soba noodles, you'll be missing out on the B-complex vitamins, iron and selenium found in wheat pasta. Pair soba with a protein, be it chicken breasts, beancurd, fish or add steamed or sauteed vegetables as sources of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants.

Reference for frozen chicken boneless leg meat in Singapore

Reference for frozen chicken boneless leg meat in Singapore

Reference for frozen chicken leg steak in Hong Kong.

Reference for frozen chicken leg steak in Hong Kong.

Time 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 3 Chicken Leg Steak (approx. 900g)

Marinate for the chicken

  • 2 fresh tomatoes on vine
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree (Hunt’s)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Chinese shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp water

For the soba

  • 270g dry soba noodles, (approx. 1 packet)
  • 1 cup frozen edamame beans
  • ½ large yellow onion
  • ½ bulb garlic
  • ½ spring onion (optional)

Preparation

  • Take out 3 frozen chicken leg steaks from the packet and place them a Ziploc bag. Seal the packet and put remaining pieces in the freezer for future use. Place the Ziploc bag in a container and put it at the lower compartment of the refrigerator to thaw for 1 hour. Dispose thaw liquid away.
  • Remove skin and fats from chicken leg steaks, and slice them in big chunks. (The size of chicken chunks will shrink when they are steamed)
  • Put frozen edamame beans into the microwave oven for 2 minutes. Remove beans from pods. Set aside in a bowl.
  • Cut tomato into chunks. Crush garlic cloves.
  • Slice yellow onions and spring onions in thin strips.

Cooking directions

  • In a mixing bowl, pour in tomato chunks and chicken chunks.
  • Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl. Pour into mixing bowl and add crushed garlic. Combine everything well.
  • Place tomato chicken chunks into a steaming tray. Steam chicken over medium heat for 13-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, fill stock pot with 3 bowls of water over medium heat. Once it starts boiling, put in soba and cook for 5 minutes. Drain cooked soba noodles and put them in a bowl of ice water to cool the soba, this stops soba from cooking further. Use chopsticks to separate soba in strains.
  • Portion soba, edamame beans, yellow onion strips in individual bowl. Scoop one ladle of steamed tomato chicken over soba. Garnish with spring onions to serve. Toss well and enjoy.

Notes:

  • When cooking soba, 5-6 minutes is suffice for thinner strains. For thicker soba, it will be about 7-8 minutes.

Enjoy!Xx

-Ally

24 | FLOUR NOODLES CHICKEN PUMPKIN SOUP

Guess who just turned 24 this week? It’s……….ME💃🏻 There ain’t no confetti, partying or drinking this time, just purely spending quality time with loved ones over scrumptious meals, and feasting on home cook dinners by special ones. It’s a day where blessed wishes from friends made me feel special and valued in their lives. Yet I did feel a sense of guilt when I received birthday messages on my WhatsApp, from people that I have forgotten their birthdays. Truthfully, I am bad with remembering birthdays, maybe I can only remember...let me count…less than 10 people birthdays?😔 I know, it’s awful, but that’s something I should put more attention by checking my Facebook birthday reminder this year. 

Speaking of relishing my birthday joy over scrumptious meals, many of which I ordered were absolutely marvellous and sinful. From wasabi calamari to lobster cheese fries and pork belly yakitori, oh nom nom… I could feel that my food baby had resurfaced in just three days. So I woke up 7am today, got myself running shoes on and ran for a good 3.2km by redeeming myself. The perspiration has indeed sparked off good, positive vibes that encouraged me to feel stronger and healthier on a cheat week. To repair myself after a normal workout session, I will normally prepare chicken pumpkin soup! 

Unlike soups that take 5-6 hours to brew, this warm and comforting bowl takes 2-3 hours-depending on it’s richness. If we aim to savour a thick flavour, the length of time to brew soup over low-heat is key. The trick to serve soup on time for meals while retaining the genuine taste of each ingredient is to stir-fry them before leaving them to slow-cook. If we are serving the soup for dinner, start preparing it early around 3pm. Let it simmer over low heat and we still can get our other things done in the mean time. Dinner still can be ready by 6pm!

Mummy chow and I co-created this hearty chicken pumpkin soup, it is easy and requires 5 steps to complete this dish. This soup serves a balanced amount of protein, anti-oxidant fibre the supports our eye health-especially at this era where we spend long hours on our electronic devices. The diversity of sweetness from the chicken and vegetables married well over hours of slow cooking, and Tuscan herb spice mix was the only herb added towards the end.

In the past, I firmly believed the notion of adding seasonings to enhance flavours of a dish, otherwise everything tastes bland and meh. Then in recent months, seasoning becomes optional when I purchased great quality ingredients and started simple cooking. It is all about simplicity, and that's the key I become more confident in my cooking, and appreciate the natural flavour of each ingredient.

I would say this is an ideal dish for a lazy stay home day also. It serves as a companion whenever I am binge watching episode after episode of iZombie alone in this rather chilly weather🌧🍵😌.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 chicken legs
  • 4 celery sticks
  • Celery leaves (for garnishing) 
  • 200g Japanese pumpkin
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 packet of flour noodles (mee sua)
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil

Kitchen Equipment

  • Vegetable knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Chopping board
  • Small pot
  • Big stock pot
  • Ladle
  • Chopsticks

Preparation

  • Fill up half of the small pot with water, turn on medium-high heat and bring to boil. Add chicken legs and let it boil over 2-3 minutes to kill the bacteria active at that time. Scoop up, side aside to cool, and pour away water. It’s an important step for food safety.
  • Peel carrots, pumpkin, celery sticks and onion. Cut them all in thick chunks. 
  • Chopped celery leaves into small pieces

Cooking

  • Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil in large stock pot over high heat. Add carrots, pumpkin, celery sticks and onion. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes till they turn slightly golden brown. 
  • Fill up ½ of the large stock pot with water, add in chicken legs, let it boil for 10 minutes. When the soup brings up to its boiling temperature, scale back the heat and bring it to simmer for 3-4 hours. It ensures even cooking, which gives you more control knowing that the ingredients are all cooking at the same steady rate. 
  • Check on the soup from time to time and give it a stir using a ladle. Make sure all ingredients soften and the colour of the soup has turned from clear to light orange. Sprinkle Tuscan herb spice mix to taste before turn off heat. 
  • Before serving, boil the flour noodles in a small pot. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in each plate. Scoop flour noodles on plate and toss them evenly. 
  • Scoop up 2 ladles of soup and pour over flat rice noodles. Place chicken leg and vegetables over and around the noodles. Sprinkle chopped celery leaves on top. 

Enjoy!Xx