(click on pics to enlarge)
Udon is a Japanese wheat noodle. The most important part of this dish is a dashi stock. A dashi stock is made with a piece of kelp (which I don’t have), hon dashi (which is salty dried bonito tuna granules), sweet mirin (which is a sweet rice wine) and soy sauce. The taste is fine without the kelp. You won’t miss it if you don’t have it. Who has kelp hanging around anyway?
Except for the udon noodles, each ingredient is cooked in the broth by itself for a little while depending on the ingredient, assembled in a big bowl and then the stock is ladled in. As each ingredient is added, the stock takes on a little different flavor.
There are many versions of this soup. I use fresh shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, daikon (Asian radish), carrots and topped with scallions.
6 cups of water
For every cup of water add 1/2 tsp. Hon Dashi
2 TBSP Sweet Mirin
2 TBSP Sake (if you have it)
Splash in soy sauce to the right color
1 – 5” piece of daikon (Asian radish) peeled
Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 40 minutes.
Prepare the other ingredients.
2 carrots sliced
1 baby bok choy
1 lb. peeled shrimp
4 or 5 shiitake mushrooms (if dry mushrooms soak in warm water before cooking)
3 scallions chopped
The udon noodles are prepared in an individual pack with a neat little wrapper in the center.
Boil the udon noodles in a separate pot b/c the noodles will absorb too much liquid if boiled in the dashi stock. Typically, noodles take exactly 12 minutes to cook but cook these exactly 10 minutes. They will continue to cook when added to the bowl later.
Remove the daikon and cut into pieces.
In the dashi stock cook carrots for five minutes and remove to a bowl. Cook shiitake mushrooms five minutes and remove to a bowl. Cook the shrimp three minutes and remove to a bowl. Cook the baby bok choy two minutes and remove to a bowl.
To serve, drain and strain the udon noodles from the clear water and add to the stock for a few minutes, remove from the stock and place the noodles at the bottom of the serving bowl. Arrange the vegetables the way you like and add the shrimp and the scallions and ladle in the hot stock. Any remaining stock can be cooled and saved in the frig for another day.
Overall this looks like a big process but it goes fast and the dish is completely wonderful and healthy I might add.
You can find Hon Dashi online if your local Asian store does not have it.