Whole Living Daily

Boost Qi with This Simple Soba and Shiso Recipe

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Bowl of soba, garnished with qi-boosting shiso.

Shiso is perhaps best known for its role as a garnish on sushi plates.  But from the Traditional Chinese medical perspective, the herb’s value is not merely decorative.

Yes – the aesthetics of food are essential, rivaled only by the energetics. According to Traditional Chinese dietary principles, this dainty green leaf, also called Perilla or Zi Su Ye, is Warm in nature and helps to counter balance the Cold sushi, aiding digestion in general.  Shiso is Acrid in flavor and it works to disperse.  It is therefore used to combat both colds and flu.

Served here with Shitaki mushrooms, this dish takes no prisoners.  The combination of ingredients bolsters Qi, strengthens the immune system and, dare I say it, alleviates allergies – reason enough to garnish with abandon.

Soba with Shitaki Mushrooms and Shiso
Serves 4

½         pound Soba noodles
1          pound Shitaki mushrooms, brushed clean of dirt and sliced
1          teaspoon Tamari, plus more for seasoning
1          small handful fresh Shiso leaves, available now in Farmer’s Market.

Cook soba noodles according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside, reserving cooking liquid.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, 1 teaspoon Tamari and enough of the reserved cooking liquid (about ¼ cup) to prevent scorching.  Sauté until mushrooms are soft and tender, about 5 minutes.

Divide noodles and mushrooms between serving plates.  Sprinkle with a healthy amount of shiso leaves and serve along side the reserved cooking liquid.  Cooking liquid can poured over noodles or sipped as a nourishing beverage.  Adjust seasoning to individual taste with additional Tamari.

Frances Boswell is a licensed acupuncturist at her practice, Qi Sera Sera Acupuncture, in New York City. She focuses on a lesser-known branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which identifies poor diet as a common cause of disease. Traditional Chinese Medicine understands that the importance of food goes beyond ingredients' vitamins, mineral, nutrient and caloric content—food has its own energetic and spiritual role in our health. Frances' aim is to teach this ancient wisdom, apply it to everyday cooking, and work with patients to modify their diets, in addition to acupuncture, to help them live, eat, and be well. Contact Frances here.

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