Sunday, January 27, 2013

Japanese Udon Noodle Soup

Japanese food is one of the many Asian cuisines that I salivate over. Last night I cooked a Japanese Miso Udon Soup. I have never cooked a Japanese soup before, but I love Japanese food so I did it. I first made a Dashi soup broth, then added vegetables and udon noodles to finalize the soup. I basically read through five or ten recipes to get an idea of what the soup is generally like, then I made my own version. Also, feel free to experiment with any vegetables and/or meats available. My friend and I discovered that this soup tastes even better when paired with Bristol Brewing Company's Compass IPA.

Miso Udon Soup:

- 1 carrot (sliced thinly at an angle)
- 1 bunch kale, chopped
- 20-30 spinach leaves
- 1 serrano pepper, sliced thinly
- 6 scallions, chopped into pea size
- 1 leek, chopped into pea size
- 1 1/2 cups thinly chopped cabbage
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 5 tablespoons soy, or tamari, sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup Japanese rice wine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice miso paste (any other miso paste would probably work too)
- 8 cups Dashi Broth (see below)
- 1 lb. udon noodles, cooked to very al dente, strained and reserved

Heat broth in large soup pot. Saute carrot, serrano pepper, scallions, leek and ginger until soft, about 6 minutes. Add kale and rice wine and continue cooking until kale begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add vegetables into broth and simmer for about 8 minutes.
Mix together soy sauce and miso paste, set aside.
Add cabbage and spinach. Once spinach begins to wilt add cooked udon noodles, sesame oil and miso-soy sauce. Continue to simmer for 1 more minute. Serve hot with a garnish of thinly chopped cabbage.

Dashi Broth:

- Several (2-4) sticks of dried Kombu (type of seaweed - buy it at Asian food markets or natural food stores)
- 1 cup dried Bonito flakes (once again, buy it at Asian food markets or natural food stores)
- 1-2 liters water, depending on desired potency of broth

Bring Kombu and water to boil. Immediately remove Kombu (set aside to use in other soup or freeze to use again for broth) once water comes to a boil. Add Bonito flakes. Once the flakes sink to bottom of pot (about 1-3 minutes), strain broth through cheese cloth or fine strainer to remove flakes. Discard flakes.
This broth will last up to a week in the refrigerator.