So I have a new food addiction. Udon noodles. How I’ve gone through life this far without cooking them is a mystery to me but I am making up for lost time. I love their slippery texture. These chewy ropes soak up flavours, add thickness to soups and guarantee some serious slurping.
Much to my surprise and joy I recently discovered an Asian supermarket about 100 metres from my work. It’s so well stocked and unbelievably cheap. Whilst other women tend to duck out on their lunch break to try on shoes or clothes, you will likely find me in this establishment expressing oohs and aahs at the plethora of exotic ingredients. I find it inspiring and it certainly gets my creative juices flowing.
I love Japanese food but haven’t really cooked much of it. The delicate flavours and healthiness of it greatly appeals to me but I haven’t really been sure where to start. After having a hallelujah food moment recently when I bought bowl of chicken udon soup for lunch one day, I decided to have a go at making my own rendition.
Since arriving here we have been eating out a lot so I’ve been keen on returning to our healthier eating habits. For this reason I used tofu instead of meat and yet again I was surprised to discover just how much I loved it. I’ve had tofu before and haven’t really been that much of a fan, but this was the first time I’d had silken tofu. Wow. It’s gorgeous. My knife cut through it like butter and the cubes dissolved in my mouth with each spoonful of soup. I used a simple miso soup paste which I complemented with some crunchy raw vegetables, fresh chilli and seaweed. You could also experiment by adding different elements such as fresh ginger, herbs and other proteins.
The ultimate test came when I put a steaming bowl in front of Mr Market Basket and my brother (who lives nearby and conveniently seems to ‘pop by’ on the dinner hour). Mr Market Basket can sometimes pout a little if his meal is without meat. That was not the case on this occasion. He could not stop singing this humble soup’s praises. We just had the same meal tonight for dinner resulting in the same satiated contentment. The best part of this dish is it’s very filling yet very low in calories, and also very cheap. You might need to buy some ingredients you don’t usually stock but you’ll get multiple meals out of them. This is certainly a welcome addition to my repertoire.
Udon Noodle Soup
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 bunch bok choy, bases chopped off and leaves separated
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
4 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons of miso paste
4 cups boiling water
2 packets of 200g udon noodles
1 sheet of seaweed, cut into inch squares
150 grams silken tofu, cubed
Add the water to a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the miso paste and stir well until completely dissolved.
Add the udon noodles and seaweed and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tofu and cook for another minute, stirring occasionally.
Divide the vegetables between two bowls.
Pour the soup and noodles into each bowl.
Garnish with fresh chilli.