Monday, January 25, 2010

Udon Noodle Soup - Umami to the Max!

Udon Noodles are most popularly served with the broth that I am about to show you, and are a staple of Japanese eating. Udon noodles, along with Ramen were supposedly brought from China over to the Japanese islands over a millenia ago. Some say that it is the very noodle that Marco Polo brought back from his travels in the East! Every region of Japan has specific styles of noodles, and in the small city of Takamatsu in Southern Japan, Udon has found it's center. The city boasts over 700 Udon eateries, necessitating Udon Taxi crawls to see the most famous Udon bowls. 

In a later post, I will show you how this style of soup is the precursor to MSG, and truly a magnificent Umami experience. Also a note about Shoyu and Mirin. I will go into more detail again at a later date, but Shoyu is something you should buy for sure yo. It blends and harmonizes flavors, and is made using better products than your average soy sauce. It tastes less salty, and does not overpower soups or rice. Mirin, while being a sweet rice wine, is by no means as sweet as sugar, and helps give Japanese cooking that perfect sweetness. If you cook a lot of fish, it will also help mask the smell. These two ingredients are worth the buy if you hope to do any amount of Japanese cooking. If you choose not to buy mirin, just mix equal parts rice vinegar and sugar, it won't be as tasty I think.

6 cups water
1 1/2 strips Kombu (read directions)
4 oz Udon
4 oz Shitake Mushrooms
2 cups White button cap mushrooms
3 tbsp Shoyu
2 tbsp Mirin
One bunch scallions
4 oz tofu or 1/2 lb meat protien

Boil Water
Add Kombu strips according to directions
Add Shoyu and Mirin
Strain out solids before pouring

Boil Udon
Strain Noodles and set aside

Sautee Shallots and Mushrooms and add Shoyu
Sautee Protien until cooked.

Arrange Noodles on bottom of bowl and veggies along with protien on top of the noodles, adding green onions.
Pour hot broth over noodles and enjoy the hell out of these.

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