I have never been one for doing the cryptic crossword. Generally, once the clues are explained I do get them, but I have never had the time, inclination and dedication to sit down and teach myself to do The Time Crossword. I quite admire those that can, and I am in awe of the few that complete the puzzle in 5 minutes.
My father’s favourite clue (he also does not do the cryptic crossword) is “Shiny Trousers? (15)”, the answer of course is “Notwithstanding”. I was once very chuffed with myself when I sussed that “It’s a sad little motorcycle (5)” was “Moped”, but on the whole word games are not really my thing, although whilst cooking this I did come up with “This Asian fungus really has a laugh at your expense (8)”.
“Shiitake” Yes – I know really not a good clue, but my thinking was that taking the shiitake was a step beyond taking the piss… As I said word games are not my thing, and I am not expecting a glittering career as a crossword compiler on the strength of this blog post.
This dish came about last weekend when Radio 4’s Food Programme featured seaweed, which I adore, but have never really mentioned on the blog. I suspect the nearest most people get to seaweed is as a sheet of nori around their sushi rolls and it is something that does not really feature in most diets, which is a shame. If you have not tried seaweed then do give it a go, I am certain you will be surprised.
Seaweed or (a more digestible sounding) sea vegetables are packed with nutrients and minerals. My favourite pick me up is a mug of miso soup sprinkled with sea vegetables and a dash of soy sauce, which I find incredibly restorative, and is just the ticket for the morning after the night before.
I get most of my Japanese ingredients from Clearspring, I find them top quality, the products are organic where they can be, and the misos and tamaris are delicious and made by Japanese artisans with centuries old methods. They have a fairly comprehensive guide to the benefits of sea vegetables on their website too.
This dish is inspired by this tamari pasta with pak choi that I blogged almost two years ago, after having first met the Clearspring team at a food show. I used Clearspring’s Sea Salad – a mix of dulse, sea lettuce and nori. It rehydrates almost instantly and is also wonderful sprinkled over a green salad with a miso dressing.
Shiitake Mushroom and Seaweed Noodles
- 10 dried shiitake mushrooms - pre soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes (drained and sliced)
- 2 bundles of noodles - cooked as per packet instructions
- 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
- 2 spring onions sliced
- 1 tbs tamari or dark soy sauce
- 1 tbs dried seaweed flakes
- In a large pan fry the sliced shiitake mushrooms and spring onions in the sesame oil. When softened add the tamari and cooked noodles and stir until the noodles are coated.
- Stir through the seaweed and serve immediately.
- Season with extra soy sauce or tamari to taste.