August 6, 2012

Udon Noodle Soup

It's been ridiculously hot out, so why am I making soup? Because I needed it. For days, I was aching for some Udon soup and no place nearby is kind enough to make some that isn't terrible. The obvious solution was to make it myself. Never having done so, however, it was a bit of a challenge.

If you don't make Japanese or Chinese food often, you'll probably have to pick up a few more ingredients than I did. You can find dashi in the ethic section of your grocery store or an Asian market. If you can't find any easily, you can use a seafood soup base with similar results.

Udon Noodle Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit
makes 2 servings

What You'll Need:
1 Tbs dashi (powdered soup base)
1 Tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp lime juice
2 tsp rice wine
2 tsp sesame oil
1 shiitake mushroom, sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups spinach, cut up
2 carrots, sliced
8 ounces udon noodles, fresh if available (I could only find dried)

The Process:
Boil the noodles according to the directions on the package. If you have dry noodles, the instructions are in Japanese, and you can't read Japanese (which is what happened to me), then boil 4 cups of water and cook the noodles for 12-13 minutes, until the center is tender.
While the noodles cook, put 3 cups of water into a pot and heat to a boil, adding the dashi, soy sauce, lime juice, rice wine, sesame oil, carrots, green onions, and mushrooms. Turn heat down to medium and simmer until the noodles finish cooking. Divide your chopped spinach between the two bowls. Once the noodles are done, using tongs, divide them in half and put into serving bowls. Ladle the soup over top and serve immediately.

I used spinach and carrots as my vegetables but you could swap them out for any number of things: snow peas, green beans, asparagus, mini corn, etc. Unless you don't like mushrooms you should keep them in because they add a nice depth to the flavor. The texture of mushrooms skeeves me out, so my solution is to make it with the mushrooms and then put all of them into Hubby's bowl.

It can get a little spendy on the dashi, sesame oil, and rice wine if you don't have them already, but they keep for a while and they're also used in tons of different Asian recipes, so you can get a lot of mileage out of them. Or, if you're not as adventurous, you could just make this recipe over and over.

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