Buckwheat Soba with Braised Shiitake Mushrooms, Bok Choy and Broccolini

My head is spinning with all I want to share with you. The days and nights are so utterly delicious I wish I could call to the world and get you all to come and taste this…spring in Northern New South Wales. Everywhere I look there are fruits and berries, flowers and sunshine. Our days have been filled with gardening, harvesting, swimming, playing, kayaking and walking. Somewhere, in the next few posts, I hope to share a little of these last weeks. 

“Maybe I should go outside and dig a little deeper,” Says Stefan from behind me.

“Love… it’s 7:30 at night. You’ve been digging all day and you’ve only just lay down…and didn’t you just have a shower?” I said.

“Yeah but its a full moon and you can see everything. I should go and get something done.”

I sigh, and smile, and go on with my sewing. Stefan has spent his every waking hour creating a new garden out the back of our house. With steady determination he has spent three days single handedly (apart the help of Bhumi’s little hands…which aparently filled two wheelbarrow loads of heavy clay today) moving huge stones into a large rock retaining wall. He has filled it with countless bags of manure that he has been hand collecting from the cow fields down the road and organic mulch.  Within months I envision this knew bed, teetering high atop our steep driveway, filled with all kinds of edible herbs and plants. It will be our zone one permaculture garden…filled with everything we use most, water most and watch the most carefully. Right beside it he is digging a pond (which is turning into something more like the size of a swimming pool) where we will breed small native fish…the cultured manure of which will feed an organic hydroponic growing system that will be fixed to the side of our deck.

Bhumi firmly believes her papa has recently been attacked by a giant squid, but despite the fresh cupping marks that decorate Stefan’s aching back, inflicted only yesterday by our Chinese doctor to try and ease the injury he incurred while moving a one meter hunk of sandstone, I hear the pick-hoe pounding the heavy clayed earth once more. He has a vision, and bless him, he can’t be stopped.

Hard work certainly has a way of building an appetite. A pie to fill a farmer came to mind as I watched the two of them shifting damp and heavy clay. But it was too hot for anything heavy in the belly…and they definitely needed something more than a salad. There was lovely little purple bok choy in the garden, just about to go to seed, as was the broccolini. And the cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas needed to be used. So with a few other simple ingredients, this lunch almost made itself.

I mentioned almost a year ago in this post just what a generous giver a crop of broccoli could be. Not only does it give you vitamin C rich brochettes as well as chlorophyl and iron rich leaves, but it also sends up lovely little broccolinis for weeks after their main heads have been harvested. One small patch of broccoli keeps us supplied for months.

Also in season is the sweet and crispy sugar snap pea. I couldn’t think of a better name for such a delightful thing as a sugar-snap-pea…could you? It has become my new nick-name for Bhumi. Sometimes I have to do my best not to eat her up too.

This recipe features one of our families favourates. Shiitake mushrooms. I was going to tell you about how we always have a full jar of dried shiitake mushrooms in the pantry. But that would be lying. We almost never have a full jar of shiitake mushrooms in the pantry, because a soon as we buy then, we eat them.

Shiitake mushrooms are said to be a natural source of both interferon and germanium, elements that send your cells singing and rejoicing in re-oxygenation. Wherever there is a lack of oxygen in the body, illness and/or death soon follow. Amazingly enough, the exact opposite is true. Wherever there is an influx of oxygen, cell rejuvenation, renewal and health take place. This is why deep yogic breathing is so beneficial to the body. Shiitake mushrooms also amazingly assist in improving cellular oxygenation, which in turn enhances immunity and appears to especially enhance immune response against cancer of the stomach and cervix as well as viral diseases. They make a hearty and tasty, almost meat-like substitute to dishes all while decreasing fat and cholesterol in the blood and helping to discharge the excess residues of accumulated animal protein. Making shiitakes, for many reasons, an excellent meat substitute in stir-fries, otherwise meat based patties (recipe coming soon), pizza or pasta dishes.


For the shiitake mushrooms…

  • 12-15 whole, dried shiitake mushrooms
  • water to cover
  • 2 Tbsp rapadura or coconut sugar
  • 4 Tbsp tamari
Place the shiitake mushrooms, stem down, into a small saucepan and cover well with water. Stir in the sugar and tamari and stir to combine. Bring the mushrooms to the boil, then cover and simmer until most of the water has been absorbed/reduced and the mushrooms are soft and swollen. Remove them from the pot and slice them roughly into two or three pieces.
For the dressing…
  • 1/3 cup tamari
  • 4 Tbsp hemp seed oil
  • 4 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut syrup, or mild tasting honey
  • Fresh chilli (optional)
Combine all ingredients together in a jar and shake well.

For the salad… 

  • 1 packet of 100% buckwheat soba noodles (available from a health food or Asian grocery store)
  • 1 bunch of small, organic bok choy, sliced into quarters
  • 1 small buch of broccolini
  • 1 carrot, sliced into fine sticks
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 handfuls of sugar snap peas, sliced diagonally in half
  • 2 handfuls of mung bean and/or lentil sprouts (make your own sprouts by following this post)
Bring a medium pot of water to the boil and add the buckwheat soba. When it is cooked but still al-dente, strain through a colander and run with plenty of cool water. Place the bok choy and broccolini in a colendar and blanch by pouring a full kettle of boiling water over (this can be done on top of or underneath the buckwheat soba to save washing and time). Once cooled add the all the remaining ingredients, along with the mushrooms and dressing and lightly toss together. Garnish with fresh coriander or Japanese parsley and strips of seaweed. Serve at room temperature.



  • Yum I love both buckwheat and shiitake. For winter ginger would be -nice too yeh… cannot wait until I can try it. Thanks Amy- I love reading your blog…. love your ideas about the pond too. Are you going to have Koi fish?

  • Yum, this was the most beautiful lunch I was treated to on Friday in the Dreadshed. There was also a creamy delicious white Paste/dip/dressing on top that I really loved. Is there a name for that dressing or perhaps a recipe? Warm thanks :-)

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