Tonight’s dish was inspired by one of my favorite hidden hideaways in Macon: Pho Saigon. I’m partial to the shrimp noodle soup, which is a pho-like soup that I slurp up with plenty of basil and sriracha, but Alex usually gets a noodle or rice bowl. Both dishes are surprisingly healthy and are packed full of flavor. I knew that we still had some Georgia shrimp in the freezer from our trip this summer to the coast, so I wanted to feature one of our state’s jewels in a way other than a fried variety or in shrimp and grits. This recipe is a great summer-to-fall transition go-to; it’s simultaneously fresh and indulgent-tasting without being too heavy. I used Japanese soba noodles in this bowl which are made from buckwheat and are full of fiber rather than the typical rice noodle in Vietnamese cuisine, but you could use any type of noodle you like.
One of my favorite things about this dish was the contrast between the warm shrimp, broccoli, mushrooms, and noodles with the cool and crisp bean sprouts, carrots, lettuce, and peanuts. You could use any sauce you like, but I threw together some of the Asian sauces we had in the refrigerator and made my own variation. Tip: include a dash of fish sauce in your concoction. It smells less than ideal on its own, but it will make any sauce you like taste authentic!
Spicy Shrimp Soba Noodle Bowls
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz. soba noodles
1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup peanuts
4 leaves of greenleaf lettuce
for the sauce:
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. sriracha
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce
1 Tbsp. PB2
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
Cook the pasta according the package directions, rinse with cold water, then toss with 1 Tbsp. sesame oil; divide evenly between two large, wide bowls.
Heat 1 Tbsp. canola oil and 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add two minced garlic cloves, then add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes, remove from pan and set aside. Add another 1 Tbsp. canola oil and 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil to the pan, then add the other two minced garlic cloves and the red pepper flakes to the oil. Next, add the shrimp and cook for about 1 minute on each side.
Arrange each of these items on around the bowl on top of the noodles: lettuce leaves, carrots, peanuts, bean sprouts, scallions, shrimp, broccoli, and mushrooms.
In a small jar, shake the sauce ingredients together, then pour the sauce into the middle of your bowl. Present the bowl this way to your diners, then dig in!