Spicy Shrimp with Buckwheat Soba Noodles

Spicy shrimp with buckwheat soba noodles

It’s always amusing for me to go back to the early archives of this site and realize how little I knew about cooking. And I posted everything, no matter how lackluster the final product. A lot of these early culinary endeavors, despite being executed poorly, do hold some promise, and I’ve been having fun re-creating them and trying to improve where I went wrong back in the day. One of these improvements turned out so much better, and was so easy, that I suspect I’ll be making it more often: The Spicy Shrimp and Red Onion Pasta of 2007 became the Spicy Shrimp with Buckwheat Soba Noodles you see here, and they were much more palatable this time around. It was all about the balance of ingredients, and using the right kind of noodles.

Shrimp and penne aren’t really a match made in heaven. I mean, sure, it tastes fine. But when eating shrimp with noodles, you want something that will wrap itself around the shrimp, making it easy to get both bits in every bite. That’s why scampi is made with spaghetti or angel hair instead of rotini. Substituting these lovely Wild Yam Buckwheat Soba Noodles for the whole wheat penne was an excellent idea. Regular Buckwheat soba noodles or whole grain spaghetti would also be quite excellent substitutions.

I also decided to use far less onion. The original version of this dish was so onion heavy it was really all I could taste (well, onion and chile paste). This time around, I used about a quarter of a medium red onion, and cut it into a dice, instead of slices, so it would cook more quickly. I also upped the amount of spinach so it didn’t disappear into the dish once wilted, and I didn’t really cook the spinach at all. I simply tossed it with the cooked shrimp and noodles, so it wilted just a little bit.

The final piece to re-inventing this recipe lay with the seasonings: The first time around, the flavors were really out of balance and it was just way, way too spicy. I cut way back on the chile paste (and actually used harissa instead, because it’s what I had on hand), eliminated the cardamom, because I’m out, used less oil, and less cinnamon. This was much better. With the heat tempered a little, it was easier to taste how the rest of the flavors worked together. And to taste, you know, the shrimp and spinach.

Spicy shrimp with buckwheat soba noodles

Spicy Shrimp with Buckwheat Soba Noodles
Serves one

  • about 6 or 7 large shrimp (I used frozen)
  • a quarter of a medium red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon harissa or hot chile paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 big handful of baby spinach
  • Buckwheat noodles or whole wheat spaghetti

This really could not be easier. Set a pot of water on to boil for the noodles. Thaw the shrimp a little by running them under cool (not cold) water for a few minutes. Mix together the oil, seasonings, harissa, honey, and perhaps a little salt and pepper to taste, then dry the shrimp and stir them into the spice mixture, along with the onions. You can let these marinate for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. I just let them sit until the water for the noodles was boiling.

While the noodles cook, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Then just dump in the shrimp and onions, with all the oil and seasoning mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the onions are soft and the shrimp are cooked through. Drain your pasta and stir it into the shrimp in the skillet. Stir well to coat the noodles with the sauce, and remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the spinach, and continue stirring just until the spinach has wilted.

Spicy shrimp with buckwheat soba noodles

Then just dump it all into a bowl and you are good to go. Much, much better than the pasta heavy, over seasoned version I made three years ago. Learning how to cook is awesome.

01. April 2010 by laura k
Categories: fish, pasta | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 comments

Comments (7)

  1. Awesome dish! Going to make it RIGHT NOW!! Thanks!

  2. I’m making this tonight! Thanks!

  3. I’m in the middle of making this right now and already see some problems with proportions. I am using a pound of shrimp so tripled the oil/spice mixture but didn’t tripe the onion. It looks very heavy on onion. Also, had to double the chili paste to give it some heat. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    • Many of my recipes have inexact proportions, especially those that serve only one or two. My recommendation is always to eyeball it, and take your own tastes into consideration. Taste as you go to make sure it seems right to you. As far as the onions, I usually use only a small amount when I’m cooking; this dish probably had about a tablespoon of chopped onion.

      • LOL! You must have used a VERY small onion if 1/4 of it was 1T! People generally prefer that recipes don’t list “inexact proportions” when cooking from a published recipe. At any rate, the taste was good and the use of whole wheat spaghetti is a good idea as it gave it a wonderful nutty taste. I will make it again!

        • Hm. I made it awhile ago, so I’m not entirely sure. The onions I got from my CSA were pretty small. For most ingredients, I tend to think people know what they like and will more or less of something to suit their own tastes. I’m an amateur recipe writer, so things aren’t always perfect. But it sounds like it turned out great!

  4. I made this a few days ago and it was a huge hit! yum