Love Spaghetti? Love Japanese food?
Well, here’s a Japanese twist on a pasta dish. And guess what? It’s vegan too!
Here are the ingredients you will need: (Serves approximately 2)
- 1 package spaghetti
- 1 cup mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, enoki or whatever you can find)
- 1 sheet of nori (dried seaweed)
- 1 bunch of scallions
- 1 small bunch of sesame leaves (if you cannot find sesame leaves, just use a little more scallions)
- 2 cloves garlic
- olive oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup mirin or white wine
Start by cooking the pasta as usual. While it cooks, mince the garlic and fry it in a pan with the olive oil. Next, chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan. Turn down the heat in the pan and add the mirin/wine. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then add in the soy sauce. At this point, take a ladle of the starchy pasta water and add it to the pan. This will thicken the sauce and give it a slightly creamy texture. Drain the pasta once it is cooked, and stir it into the sauce. Let it sit, and let the flavors get to know each other. Meanwhile, chop the scallions and sesame leaves, and shred the nori. Sprinkle these on top of the pasta just before serving.
This is an incredibly simple, quick and refreshing pasta dish. It has a savory meaty taste from the mushrooms, and a bright fresh taste from the scallions and sesame leaves.
Sesame leaves, also known as oba, are common in Asia, but can be hard to find in the West. I first tasted them on a trip to South Korea, where they were served alongside almost every meal. If you love spinach, you’re likely to fall in love with sesame leaves as well. Their taste is most similar to baby spinach, but with a little nutty kick.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to find them near you, you won’t be disappointed by the taste!
If you aren’t vegan and want to add a little meat, bacon works wonderfully in this dish. Some other fun and tasty variations can be made by substituting the olive oil for sesame oil, for a more nutty warming flavor, or using a little butter, which gives it a considerably richer taste.
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Editor: Renée Picard
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons