And I’m welcoming stir fries back into my life with open arms that are growing biceps, triceps and even medial deltoid. Honestly, I had to google the spelling of the latter. My point – you can enjoy a healthy soba noodles stir fry and still lose weight. Yep, good news, right?! Weight loss is a combination of many things. I strongly believe in moderation rather than deprivation, because one day you will break and binge on a big amount of cr@p. Well tested on my very own self.
So, my healthy soba noodles recipe is made as healthy as possible with 80/20 rule. Why?! Because I had to use soba noodles made in China. Although I swore never to buy anything from China, I do not think they are made anywhere else in the world. Finding organic is a different story. I once bought a package with USDA Organic logo on the front and Made in China writing on the back. I believe in organic Chinese food as much as I believe that babies are found in the cabbage (old Ukrainian joke/folk tale). What I believe more though, that China is very proficient in Photoshop and USDA won’t even know their logo has been googled and saved on someone’s screen in China. Blunt truth.
Despite Chinese noodles on the menu, my stir fry is healthy. Soba noodles are made out of buckwheat, a well known in Ukraine whole grain that I believe soon to be discovered by North America, just like quinoa. Give it 10 years. So, health check for noodles (BTW another BS marketing logo I have seen on a package of Lifestyle cookies, really?!).
The goal is not to overcook the noodles and make a big mess, which I admit happens to me every other time. Ugh. I boiled the noodles for 3 minutes, really could be even 2 but depends on a thickness of your soba, and then rinsed under cold water.
Another key to successful healthy soba noodles recipe is to have all ingredients ready to go: sauce, sliced protein and chopped veggies. You can really use what you have, just common sense please. No potatoes or lamb.
The peanut sauce: very simple spices and thickened with organic cornstarch. 80% of soy and corn in North America are GMO. Luckily, it’s not that hard to find these two organic. Mixed with chicken breast, a bunch of bell peppers and kale (delicious addition!).
I cook meat, veggies and noodles separately. Noodles being an obvious part. Meat tastes best if browned on high heat and a bit of sauce added during the last minute. The sauce caramelizes and coats meat evenly – to-die-for sticky sweet and salty chicken! Then I stir fried bell peppers which made them super fragrant. Everything cooks quickly on high heat. No other secrets, I promise!
I used to be terrified of stir fries. I figured out why – I had an old wok to which my food was sticking. Duh, no wonder?! It was 13 years old. I even used it creating skillet recipes for my eBook. See, I’m Ukrainian and we can be very creative. Last time my mom came for a visit, she touched up kitchen cabinets with an artist’s brush, glued floor protectors with school glue to all chairs and covered the cat’s door (RIP Ozzy) with who knows what but it works.
My grandma used to hand wash, without soap (we didn’t have dish soap), plastic bags from butter and hang on a clothes line to dry. Then, when you go to buy butter, you bring your bag with you. I imagine pulling out slimy plastic bag from my Coach purse next time I go to Trader Joe’s…But that was life. There was no resealable sandwich bags, garbage bags or plastic bottles. We wrapped sandwiches in newspaper, dumped garbage straight into a metal bucket and drank from tap. And we made it and were healthier than average American. Amount of plastic I place on a curbside every Thursday still shocks me. But what can I do besides sorting and recycling in an OCD way?! Hey, Costco cashier, here is your plastic wrap and cardboard box from 8 sticks of butter I just bought…But seriously, can someone please explain why does each toilet paper roll has to be individually wrapped in plastic before packaged in a big pile and labelled “not for individual resale”?!
So, my plastic bag story was coming to a fact that Alex finally forced me to spend money on a new non-stick wok. His valid point was that $30 won’t have a dramatic effect on our savings, true fact. But they could go towards the mortgage and we could live without stir fries, my good point. I have a good point, considering we are immigrants, with no inheritance in sight, unless one of those emails about a dead rich uncle in Africa becomes a reality. Anyways, I have a new wok that I now adore!
Do I really have to sell you on noodles?! Really?! I don’t think so. I’m marking this healthy soba noodles recipe as kid friendly because both of my kids ate it without picking out kale or bell peppers. I think peanuts did the trick – a nice cover up. I recently have joined an army of addicted to peanuts Americans. Can’t get enough although we never had them back in Ukraine. Just like bananas – my favourite fruit ever! We never had them back home. I remember, when I first came to Canada and my sister brought me and my mom from the airport, I stuffed my face with 5 bananas right away. I couldn’t believe they were available without a limit, further strengthening my addiction with a ridiculous price at the store. And hey, I promise I had a great childhood. Just without peanuts, bananas and stir fries.:)
Enjoy my Ukrainianized Asian healthy soba noodles recipe!
- 1/2 cup soy sauce, low sodium
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp peanut butter, unsalted
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 6 oz soba noodles (brown rice noodles would work too)
- 1.5 lbs boneless & skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 2 large bell peppers, cut into thin strips
- 4 cups kale, coarsely chopped & packed
- 1/2 cup peanuts, unsalted
- 3 green onion sprigs, chopped
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
- Bring medium pot, filled half with water, to a boil. In the meanwhile, get all ingredients ready, most importantly, cut the chicken, chop vegetables and measure peanuts. In a medium bowl, whisk Sauce Ingredients and set aside.
- Add soba noodles to a pot with boiling water and cook for 2 - 3 minutes or al dente, stirring constantly and making sure the noodles do not stick. Reserve about a cup of noodles' water (starchy water is great for diluting the sauce), transfer noodles to a colander, rinse with cold water and leave to drain.
- Preheat non-stick wok or large deep skillet on high heat and add chicken. Cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally. This should take about 10 minutes (depending how much water your chicken contains). Add 1/3 of prepared Sauce and stir constantly for a minute or until sauce thickens and coats the meat. Remove from heat and transfer a bowl. Set aside.
- Rinse and dry wok/skillet and return to the stove, on high heat. Add bell peppers and stir fry until fragrant and some peppers are golden brown, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and add kale, soba noodles, chicken and remaining sauce. Stir gently until mixed, about a minute and remove from heat. Sauce will thicken as it warms up. If noodles absorb too much sauce, add some reserved noodles' water. Add peanuts, green onions and red peppers flakes. Serve hot.
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving = 1 + 2/3 cups:
Total Fat: 9.6 g
Cholesterol: 55.0 mg
Sodium: 1,089.0 mg
Total Carbs: 40.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.9 g
Protein: 37.4 g
WW Points+: 10