Along the Grapevine

Sweet and Sour Dandelion Soup with Soba Noodles

39 Comments

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Freshly Picked Dandelions

This recipe has two parts to it – the dandelion part and the noodles. The dandelion ‘soup’ can be served on its own, or with anything else you like, and of course the noodles are soba noodles, so you probably know how you like them.

I’ll start with the dandelion part. I weeded two patches of garden and found some dandy looking ‘lions. This is the best time of the year to eat the greens, before the flowers appear, as this is when they are at their sweetest. The roots also looked thick, crisp and white on the inside. I have made tea and ersatz coffee with them before, but wanted to do something else, so I thought of combining them in a soup. The roots are a little bitter when raw, but lose most of that bitterness when cooked. I decided to offset the slight bitterness of the greens with something sweet, which made me think of adding something sour, which in turn suggested hot and spicy. With the saltiness of the soya sauce, I think I covered every taste we have.

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Dandelion Greens

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Dandelion Roots

For more on identifying dandelions and their spectacular nutritional value, check out this site.

To make the soup, you will have to clean the leaves several times to make sure they are really clean. I don’t bother cleaning the roots too much, as I peel and then rinse them. Of course, you can use a mixture of other greens too. Because it is a soup, quantities can vary, as can the ingredients. I used mushrooms, green onions and flavourings, such as chili, garlic and ginger. Pretty simple really.

Sweet and Sour Dandelion Soup

4 cups water

a handful of chopped, cleaned dandelion roots

1 in. ginger root, sliced thinly

4 medium sized mushrooms, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic

1 hot chili pepper, chopped (or dried flakes or hot sauce to taste)

4 Tbsp soya sauce

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp honey

Mix all these ingredients in a saucepan, heat and simmer until the dandelion roots and ginger are well cooked. Just before serving, add a big handful of dandelion greens and cook for another couple of minutes.

Such a soup suggested to me soba noodles – but I didn’t have any – so had to make some. I started making soba noodles long ago, in a far-away country where I couldn’t buy them. I decided just to mix buckwheat flour with water, roll and cut it like any other pasta, and that was it. The best soba noodles I had ever had. Now I have the luxury of being able to consult the internet, and  it seems it is harder to do right after all. But maybe that’s not the internet’s fault. I think my buckwheat is the wrong kind. Yes, not all buckwheat is made equal, and I believe mine is of a course nature. If you have the choice and want to make your own, I would buy a very fine flour in an Asian shop. The type you want is called sobakoh. But if you are like me, have no choice, but still want to make your own, just use whatever buckwheat you have. They will still be good, they will just break more easily. Another solution is to mix 3 parts buckwheat with 1 part wheat flour. I might do that next time just to compare.

I did do two things I never tried before. One was to use a food processor to mix the dough because now I have one. The other was to add boiling water to the flour – a process I can’t justify but it seemed to work quite well.

Soba Noodles

1 cup of buckwheat flour

1/2 cup boiling water (approx.)

Add the boiling water slowly to the flour while processing until the dough forms into a ball.

You can also do this by hand, in which case you should mix it in a bowl and kneed once you are able to form a ball.

 

Divide the ball in two and roll each piece on a floury board into a rectangle. No need to make it super thin, – it will probably start breaking if you get it too thin.

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Soba Noodle Dough

In my first attempt I cut the strands by hand, which is quite easy to do, but mine did not look very neat.

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Hand-cut Noodles

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Machine-cut Noodles

For my second batch I used  my pasta maker. I got more breakage, but it looked neater.

Put the pasta into a big pan of boiling water – give it lots of room so it doesn’t stick together – and boil for 1 minute. Strain through a sieve, and run it under cold water, shaking the sieve to prevent the strands from sticking.

To serve, spoon some noodles into a dish.

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Cooked Noodles

Ladle out the soup on top and garnish with something green. I used green onions.

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Sweet and Sour Dandelion Soup with Soba Noodles

So anyone at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #13 up for trying a sweet and sour soup made with entire dandelion plants and some slightly fractured soba noodles, I hope you enjoy this thoroughly original, tried and tested only by me recipe.

 

 

 

Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

39 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Dandelion Soup with Soba Noodles

  1. You continue to amaze me with your delicious recipes, Hilda! No dandelions yet in my parts, but I will definitely keep your recipe in mind when they arrive.

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  2. Thanks Nancy. You could always use any other edible green, even cultivated ones, or a mixture. The broth is really nice and easy to make.

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  3. Pingback: (A Forager’s) Fiesta Friday #13 | The Novice Gardener

  4. The buckwheat noodles with dandelion ROOT– so hearty and earthy sounding, yet light with the broth. I never realized you could use dandelion root! I am working on “double rye buckwheat” soba from a book called “Ivan Ramen” and I really need a pasta machine I think . . . . my noodles keep turning out like my moms Pennsylvania Dutch handout noodles from her “pot pie.” No bueno! On an unrelated matter I would love to send you a photo of a weed I am wondering about . . . any links here on your site to contact you? If not you can contact me via my blog and I can figure out from there . . . thanks Hilda. Beautiful recipe! So creative.

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  5. Thanks for the comments on my weedy soup. I know the Ivan Ramen book because I bought it for my daughter. It is a beautiful book and I always browse through it when I visit her. It lives on her coffee table for now. Some people make beautiful pasta without a machine, but I am glad to have mine – so much easier. As for identifying weeds, I am not very good at that, still learning. There is a very good group called plant foragers at yahoo, and they are pretty good at identifying stuff.
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/PlantForagers/info
    I recommend just sending them a photo and putting your request out there. Hope that helps. Let me know if you get it resolved.

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  6. What a lovely spring inspired recipe!! Dandelions were always the sign of spring and the slowly approaching summer when I still lived in Switzerland. All the hills would then suddenly be beautifully colored in the most stunning yellow. Wow, I really admire you for making soba noodles! I really love soba noodles, but I never dared making them myself, I might give it a try now though, yours look really professional – I also liked your hand-cut ones! Great recipe – thanks for sharing!

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    • Thanks so much. Actually, I figure making noodles is easier than going out to the shop to get some. We live in the country, so no corner stores for me.

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  7. This sounds so delicious and unique! I have never eaten dandelion and now I feel inspired to have a look in the garden if I can find some!🙂 And I have never even thought about making my own noodles, I love soda noodles, what an inspiring blog with great flavor combinations!🙂

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  8. I love this recipe! Where I grew up there were tons of dandelions (they were literally everywhere), but I never thought about using them to cook something! Here in Cambridge, we unfortunately don’t have that many dandelions in our garden, but I’ll keep my eyes open from now on as I really want to try your recipe!

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    • Thanks. I know you are way ahead of us in spring in Cambridge. Our dandelions are just getting started. My favourite recipe is for pesto which I posted last year. https://alongthegrapevine.wordpress.com/2013/05/
      I would think the countryside around Cambridge would be a great place to find wild plants. I know Lode and Stapleford quite well, and there are lots of wide open areas there.

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      • Thanks for your comment, Hilda! I live in the ‘other Cambridge’, in Massachusetts, US, not the British Cambridge, unfortunately🙂 However, I adore the city of Cambridge in England and considered working on my PhD there. But somehow I ended up moving across the ocean and pursuing my graduate work in the US. Here spring has just begun, but dandelions are really not as common as they are in Europe. At least not in our area.

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  9. This soup sounds really comforting! Thanks for sharing it to us! Have a wonderful weekend!🙂

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  10. This looks so cool! I’m very impressed by the noodles. Even the hand cut ones are impressive and I never would have thought to pair dandelion greens and soba noodles. It sounds refreshing and filling at the same time🙂 I’ve never cooked with dandelions and I like the thought putting it in a soup, much less making it sweet and sour. Thanks for coming back to Fiesta Friday, Hilda!

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  11. Springtime in a bowl – sunshine and all🙂

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  12. Well, you amaze me Hilda! This all sounds so delicious and I love that it is something that just grows wild! Wow! And to boot, you make your own soba noodles?? Incredible! This is a super interesting post – thanks so much!😀

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  13. This recipe is delicious! thank you for having shared with us in the fiesta friday! kisses

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  14. WOW and WOW!! First, you are cooking dandelion roots and green! (I saw it’s flower that Angie’s. Equally amazing) and Secondly, you are making soba noodle!
    I tried making soba noodle early this year, as shop bought one here doesn’t taste like soba at all, and my husband found buckwheat flour at health shop. I found it so difficult, as it got cut as soon as I boiled them. Soba noddle in Japan is often NI-HACHI, meaning, 2 part wheat flour+8 part buckwheat. I failed with this, and tried 50/50, but still my noodle was short. I think it is due to the type or freshness of flour we can get here. (Or is it me not having special kneading technique, as some people take soba noodle making as an art form? but I can do UDON noodle and bread, so I think it is flour! ) Anyhow, home-made soba noodle might get short, but taste wonderful. I need to try cooking dandelion soon!

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  15. I just came in from tidying the garden a little, but now going out again to dig some dandelion roots and give them a taste test. I’ve only eaten the flowers (nice!) and the leaves (bitter, but if I keep eating, maybe I’ll get used to the bitterness?) so far. Thanks, Hilda! You’re a great resource.🙂

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  16. Hilda, I don’t know you could have impressed me more. This is fantastic. I love dandelion greens (I am alone on this one in our home) I could eat them every day while they are young and in season. Never occurred to me you could eat the roots. I have some pretty massive plants out in the south 40 right now, but they have flowered so perhaps it’s too late. I love this post. Your homemade soba noodles are off the charts! Beautiful…beautiful food.

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    • Thanks so much for your kind words. I don’t think it matters if they have flowered – they might just be a little more bitter, but my young roots, once cooked, were very mild, so I would give it a try. Frankly, I’m looking forward to the more mature ones. For one thing, they would be easier to grate like carrots. I just got some more ideas.

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  17. What is wrong with me??!!?? I have never considered making homemade soba noodles… fabulous!!!! I will have to try it- thanks for the inspiration🙂

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  18. I had no idea that dandelion roots were also edible. We throw out so many while weeding! And amazing that you made the soba noodles! I thought it needed wheat to hold it together. This is awesome, I will try.

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  19. wow! I couldn’t believe that you made your soba noodles from scratch! And I didn’t have the faintest idea that dandelions could be edible and have some purpose in our lives!🙂 thanks so much for educating me!

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  20. Hilda, you are a nature lover who appreciates everything around us and every post we will learn something new and interesting. Thank you for sharing!

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  21. Hilda, this soup sounds really amazing. We tend to start crying when dandelions start appearing over our yard. I need to be more open to the idea of eating them🙂

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    • I know what you mean. I used to spend so much time pulling dandelions when I could have been doing something more useful. Now I love to see them cropping up. Besides, they help aerate the soil when they die (after a two year cycle) and introduce nitrogen in the soil. There is a reason the grass invites them in. And they are fun to cook with! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  22. wow omg that is sooo different, can you describe the taste, I just cant imagine it?

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    • The broth is a great mixture of sweet, hot and sour. The dandelions (if you choose to use them) are a little chewier than most early spring greens, because they are more substantial than others. I like that about them, but if you are trying them for the first time, you might want to mix them with other familiar greens like spinach, or arugula.

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      • I just started foraging last year, I am not sure I am brave enough for dandelions yet, I started to make jams and jellies, but we shall see🙂

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      • Dandelion greens are actually sold in markets in many countries, so they are not exclusive to foragers, if that helps you in any way. But all in good time. What do you forage? Any recipes you care to share?

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      • I don’t think I could buy dandelions locally and because of my chronic pain I don’t often get to go far afield however I started foraging to keep me active and we had loads of
        Blackberries , Hawthorne, elderberries so with my apple trees I made jams jellies and crumble pies oh yes rosehips too hehe but making jams etc is still hit and miss for me x

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      • Yikes I think that might be a bit too much for the kids now you’ve described it hehe x

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  23. Great photos and very useful information all around! Hilda, the soup looks so delicious!

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  24. Wow, hand made noodles and wholesome dandelion soup! What a wonderful recipe, it makes me feel healthier just reading your post!😀

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  25. Homemade soba noodles! I am in awe! What a deliciously creative soup, Hilda!!

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  26. Again, thanks. I am just sorry I didn’t have the best kind of buckwheat to show them off properly – but I tend to just make do with what I have. Maybe next time.

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