Soba Noodles with Asian Clam Sauce

Photo by Jamie Tiampo

Soba noodles are thin Japanese buckwheat noodles that are rich in protein and fiber. The Japanese usually serve them cold, in salads, but they’re also great served hot.

Anytime you steam clams, you get an instant full-flavored sauce in the form of clam broth. In this case, I’ve taken the broth in an Asian direction with the addition of ginger, cabbage, and cilantro. Pour it over the soba noodles and you have a wonderfully refreshing, yet totally filling, dinner entrée. By the way, if you were born with the anti-cilantro gene (yes, there really is such a thing), just substitute fresh basil or parsley.

Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total preparation time: 30 minutes

3 pounds littleneck clams
4 medium scallions
One 11⁄2-inch piece fresh ginger
8 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
1 pound bok choy or napa cabbage
1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves
1⁄3 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crusty bread, as an accompaniment

  1. Bring a very large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Scrub the clams, discarding any that won’t close.
  2. Trim and chop both the white (about 1/4 cup) and the green (about 1/4 cup) parts of the scallions, keeping them separate. Peel and Microplane-grate the ginger (about 11/2 teaspoons).
  3. When the water has come to a boil, add the noodles and cook following the package directions. Drain and rinse well; set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, trim and thinly slice the bok choy (4 generous cups). Chop the cilantro (about 2 tablespoons).
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped white parts of the scallions and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add the ginger and press the garlic (about 2 teaspoons) into the pan; cook for 1 minute more.
  6. Add the clams and white wine to the pan; turn the heat up to high. Cover the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the clams open; transfer the clams to a bowl as they open. Discard any clams that won’t open after 6 to 8 minutes.
  7. Add the bok choy to the saucepan; cover the pan and steam for 2 minutes or until the bok choy has wilted. Add the noodles, clams in their shells, chopped green parts of the scallions, the cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste; cook just until hot. Serve in 4 pasta bowls with crusty bread.
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