It’s Thursday, people, and Thursday is MY Hump Day, since my work week is Tuesday through Saturday. By Thursday I’m usually pretty tired already (and this week it seems exceptionally so), so I prefer to make easier, quick recipes. Come on, all people who work 9 to 5’s want an easy yet healthy and delicious weeknight meal they don’t have to spend hours on, right? You don’t even have to dirty as many dishes as I did for this one!
The idea for this recipe sprang up from finding frozen Udon noodles at H-Mart, our local Korean supermarket. Udon are thick, springy wheat noodles from Japan that are often served in broth. I’ve done the same here, but instead of the basic dashi and mirin based broth, this one uses much easier to find ingredients like rice vinegar and sesame oil.
I’ve used homemade pork stock here (made by broiling pork bones until brown, then simmering with tap water and kosher salt) but if you wanted this to be vegan you could just use plain water and some extra soy sauce.
The key here are the shiitakes. Shiitake mushrooms are not your ordinary button mushrooms. They’re meatier, have a firmer texture and a much more pronounced flavor. Without them, this soup would taste more like that clear liquid you get from Chinese restaurants in the form of “wonton soup”. So here’s what you need:
It’s super easy, too. Bring the stock to a boil and pop in the shiitakes, sliced, along with the white scallions. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Then add in the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and ginger, divide the noodles among bowls, ladle the broth on top and garnish with spinach and scallions. Easy peasy, Japanese! (HEY, that’s the ONE instance where that phrase doesn’t feel offensive to me!)
The Hubs and I both loved the texture of the noodles, and the size and texture makes it feel like you’re eating a ton more than you actually are. This entire recipe clocks in at a mere 325 calories but is so filling!
Shiitake Udon in Ginger Broth
A quick, flavorful and comforting Asian style noodle soup.
You can find frozen udon noodles in Asian markets.
Ingredients– 750g frozen udon noodles – 4 cups pork or beef stock – 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced – 1/4 c. white parts of scallions – 2 tsp. light soy sauce – 2 tsp. sesame oil – 1 tsp. rice vinegar – 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated – 3 oz. baby spinach – 1 cup green parts of scallions
1. Prepare udon noodles according to package directions, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking and drain.
2. In a stock pot, bring stock to the boil. Add shiitakes and white scallions and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and ginger and simmer 1 more minute.
4. Divide udon into 4 bowls, ladle broth over top and garnish with spinach and green scallions.
A simple, comforting bowl of noodles on a cold winter night? Sign me up!