Brown Butter Mushrooms, Greens, and Soba Noodles

November 17, 2017
5 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

This dish is further proof that brown butter makes everything better. In a soba noodle dish where you’d expect soy sauce and friends, brown butter and fish sauce join together to make a rich, nutty, umami bomb of a sauce. And by sautéing mushrooms and greens in the sauce, they take on a complexity that surprises given their quick turn in the pan. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes from start to finish—the type of dish that’s so good I’ve found myself eating it straight from the pan.

  • Serves 4
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (I like the Red Boat brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce, or to taste (virtually any type of chile sauce will work here)
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (cremini, shiitake, or a combination)
  • Finely grated zest of one large lime (juice reserved)
  • 2 to 3 cups roughly torn kale, chard, or spinach leaves (about half a small bunch)
  • 6 ounces soba noodles
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and cook until it turns brown and smells nutty, about 4 to 6 minutes. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom so they don't burn.
  3. Add the fish sauce, chile-garlic sauce, and lime zest to the brown butter, stirring to integrate. The fish sauce will smell strong at this point, but it’ll mellow as the dish comes together.
  4. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 4 to 6 minutes, over medium heat, then add the greens and sauté a few minutes longer. (If using young, tender greens, skip this step and add them at the end with the soba noodles.)
  5. Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles according to package directions.
  6. When the soba noodles are done, drain and immediately add them to the skillet. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and toss together until the noodles are evenly coated with the brown butter sauce. Taste for seasoning and balance, adding kosher salt, more lime juice, or sesame oil if needed.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Ashley Rogers
    Ashley Rogers
  • Sandy Tse
    Sandy Tse
  • Daniela Muñoz
    Daniela Muñoz
  • Suzanne Werneke
    Suzanne Werneke
  • EmilyC

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

12 Reviews

Ashley R. November 11, 2020
This was so delicious! I added eight ounces of cubed tempeh along with the mushrooms and a drizzle of chili oil before serving.
Sandy T. November 11, 2019
Fantastic simple dish! The smell as you walk into the kitchen is sooo wonderful. Its nutty, aromatic and welcoming. I made it with kale from my daughter's garden and the crisp bite was a great complement to the noodles. I added more lime at the end for an acid punch.
Sanjana S. January 19, 2019
Great recipe! Is there a vegan alternate for the fish sauce? Maybe miso?
Author Comment
EmilyC January 19, 2019
Hi Sanjana: I’ve never tried miso, but I think either it or mushroom sauce would give a nice umami boost! Please let me know if you try a substitute and how it works out!
Daniela M. January 15, 2019
Hi there, first time I'll be making this and using (Thai) fish sauce. I can only get sweet-chili sauce where I live, will it work ok? I don't mind sweet 'n sour food... but I'd be bothered if it ruined it... Thanks!!
Author Comment
EmilyC January 15, 2019
Hi Daniela! It should work just fine...maybe add a 1/4 tsp to be safe, then add more to taste when serving. If you want more kick, you could add red chile flakes as well and/or sriracha. It’s a very flexible dish, one that can be tinkered to your liking! Hope this helps, and let me know how it goes!
Daniela M. January 16, 2019
Yeayyy thank you! Will let you know!!
daniel March 10, 2018
A simple process, that takes but little time from start to finish. A reasonable means for an Umami fixin'. In accordance with my tastebuds, I recommend adding 1/4 to 1/2 a tsp.
mac January 10, 2018
This was relatively easy to make and very delicious. I would only maybe add more chili garlic paste for a tad more kick. Be forewarned, your house will smell like fish sauce for a while
Suzanne W. January 5, 2018
This dish was amazing. The mix of flavors while still being so simple was fabulous. Definitely a keeper!!!
Author Comment
EmilyC January 5, 2018
So, so happy to hear this!! Thanks so much for trying it and letting me know!
Sonia M. January 2, 2018
The method of making brown butter is similar to making GHEE ( clarified butter) where the butter is cooked till the milk solids separate from the fat to give clear transparent ghee after the browned milk solids are strained . Ghee adds a delicious flavour to Every thing its added to.