An appetiser should excite the palate. And these spicy soba noodles with XO sauce and confit/sous vide egg yolk does just that. Umami packed, velvety egg yolk, and a nice edge from the chilli. Delectable.
While some diners responses to this spicy soba noodles dish were that it would make a great main course, I don’t think so. It is perfect as an appetizer. It leaves you wanting more. And that is the point.
This dish is not alone among soba noodle recipes on delectabilia, and for a good reason. These buckwheat flour noodles have a great taste, texture and are healthier than noodles made only with refined wheat or rice flour. And they work so well with confit/sous vide egg yolk and spicy XO sauce.
XO sauce is the reason behind the “spicy” in these spicy soba noodles. A Cantonese ingredient originating in Hong Kong in the 1980s, XO sauce is actually more relish than sauce. And it doesn’t contain any XO Cognac, after which it was named. In Hong Kong at the time, XO had become a generic term for high quality. It contains red chillis, dried shrimps and scallops, ham, garlic, and canola oil. In other words, an umami-packed flavour enhancer.
Confit/sous vide egg yolk
If you love your egg yolks runny, this is the topping for you. We use a sous vide device to cook the yolks in canola oil to that point of perfect velvety doneness. That velvety mouthfeel is, of course, the result of the fat content of the yolks. This is the perfect balance for the salty, sweet, sour, and spicy sauce.
Spicy soba noodles with XO sauce and confit egg yolk
- 5 eggs 1 spare, just in case
- 1/2 cup canola oil or half-half canola oil and truffle infused oil
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Retain the whites for another use, such as a consommé. They freeze well.
- Add the yolks, 1/2 cup oil, and crushed garlic to a sous vide bag and expel the air.
- Sous vide at 64 degC for 45 minutes.
- Drain the yolks from the oil shortly before using.
- In a large pan over a medium-low heat, stir together all the ingredients.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add the 1/4 cup oil and the soba noodles.
- Boil the soba noodles according to the instructions on the package, usually about 6 minutes. Test from 5 minutes to ensure the right state of “doneness”.
- Using thongs, lift the noodles from the water and add to the pan with the XO sauce. Toss with the XO sauce until well coated.
- Drain the egg yolks from the oil.
- Coil up some of the soba noodles tossed in XO sauce and position on a plate.
- These should be warm, not hot.
- Place an egg yolk on top.
- A sprig of sea grapes looks good as a garnish.