Sometimes when cooking ethnic food, you never know quite what you’re going to get. Especially when dealing with unfamiliar ingredients and flavors. Granted, this dish isn’t too far off the beaten path. The most unfamiliar ingredients for me were the bean paste and the soba noodles, everything else is pretty much a staple in our kitchen. But even so, I was delightfully surprised with just how delicious this meal turned out to be. We’ve already had it twice in the past month!
Speaking of unfamiliar ingredients, we are so lucky to have a local international grocery store— Super G Mart— where we can buy things like soba noodles and fish sauce and tamarind paste and mirin and za’atar, oh my!
Sauce (makes about 2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup tahini, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 scallions, chopped (can substitute with small shallot, chopped, and microwaved for 20 seconds)
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 2 teaspoon Chinese sweetened black bean paste
- 2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4-1/2 cup boiling water
Noodles (4 servings)
- 8-10oz ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Shrimp (4 servings)
- 1.5 lbs shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1/4 cup Huy Fong chili garlic sauce + 1 TBS sriracha
Toss shrimp with 1/4 cup chili garlic sauce and 1 TBS sriracha and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight. (If you want a significantly spicier shrimp, substitute chili garlic sauce with chili paste + 3 cloves of minced garlic. Chili past also made by Huy Fong; container looks the same except chili paste has a gold label.)
Bring a large pot of salted (1-2 teaspoons) water to a boil. Add noodles and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water until cool. Toss with 1 TBS sesame oil and refrigerate.
While noodles are cooking, prepare sauce. Mix together all ingredients except vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and boiling water. Once you’ve made a thick paste, then add liquid ingredients. Start with 1/4 cup water and add more if sauce is too thick. (If appears too thin, will thicken when cooled.) Transfer to air-tight container and refrigerate.
After pasta and sauce have been made, place shrimp on skewer and grill at 400° for 3 minutes on each side, or until shrimp are opaque.
When ready to eat, serve noodles with sauce and top with grilled shrimp!
ps… the beautiful bowl in the photograph was handmade by the talented folks at Page Pottery in Burnsville, NC!