We’re finally getting what we’ve needed for months here in Northern California, a dose of stormy, wet weather. The hills are turning fresh and spring green, at last. With drizzle coming down outside, I decided to warm up my insides with a bowl of udon noodles and vegetables in a rich miso broth. Although I usually recommend whole grain noodles (brown rice, whole wheat, buckwheat), I must confess that sometimes the allure of fat, wheaty udon calls to me. I especially like fresh udon noodles, because not only do they save time, but they seem to drink in the broth and become more succulent than dried noodles do. Of course, if you can’t find fresh udon noodles in your Asian or natural foods market, dried will do, as will linquine. In either case, you will need to take the extra step of cooking them separately according to package directions. I think you’ll love that this recipe begins like a stir fry, and then after water is added, becomes soup. You could have this on the table in 20 minutes, and you need dirty only one pot: your trusty wok. If you live alone, as I do, I’ve scaled this recipe for you. I ate a little more than half for dinner, and just finished off the rest for lunch. Perfect. It’s still raining outside and inside, I’m feeling warm and cosy. Recipe, after the jump.
1/2-1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, preferably, or light vegetable oil of choice
1/2 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
4 medium fresh shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stem removed, then thinly sliced
pinch of salt
1 small carrot, halved lengthwise then cut into thin diagonal slices
3/4- inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
2 ounces fried tofu, sliced into thin strips
2-3 baby bok choy, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch strips, stems and leafy parts separated, or use whatever green vegetable you like
1-2 tablespoons mirin, to taste (optional)
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce, to taste
3 cups water
7 ounce package of fresh udon noodles
1- 1 1/2 tablespoons mild white or yellow miso (or more), to taste
1-2 green onions, trimmed and sliced thin on the diagonal, to garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon pickled ginger, thinly sliced, to garnish (optional)
1. Have the tofu and veggies completely prepped before beginning to cook (see the mis en place below).
2. Heat a wok until very hot, sprinkle in a little sesame oil. Add the onions, shiitake mushrooms and a pinch of salt and stir fry over high heat two minutes.
3. Add the carrots, ginger, tofu and bok choy stems and stir fry two minutes more. Then add the mirin and soy sauce and stir fry 30 seconds.
4. Add three cups water, bring just to a boil, then add the udon noodles. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the noodles have absorbed some of the broth and swelled up a bit.
5. Add the bok choy leaves. Cover, turn off the heat and let sit a minute. Stir in the miso to taste.
6. Pour into warmed serving bowls and garnish.