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Japanese Udon Noodle Soup

Japanese Udon Noodle Soup

The whole idea of this udon noodle soup recipe is simplicity - thick noodles in an umami rich broth that's comforting, delicious and surprisingly filling. In fact the eggs and mange tout that I've used here are optional extras. In it's simplest form, this dish can come together in the time it takes to boil a kettle. It's made super easy by using the wonderful Hamadaya ingredients. They are made in the Southern area of Japan, close the Islands largest volcano called Mount Aso.

The basis to a classic udon noodle soup is dashi, which to the Japanese is the fundamental basis of so many dishes - a bit like chicken stock is in Western cooking. It's an infusion of a type of kelp called 'kombu' and dried and smoked fish known as 'katsuobashi'. However, just like we all use an instant chicken or veg stock, there are instant dashi stocks available and the Hamadaya dashi stock is the best we have come across and a doddle to use.

Udon noodles come in a variety of forms, fresh (or semi-fresh), dried or frozen. The semi-fresh ones made by Sau Tao are great quality and are ready in one minute. The dried ones require a little extra cooking time, around 10 minutes, but are also great. 

This recipe is perfect for a lunch, light supper or starter for a larger meal.

Recipe for Japanese Udon Noodle Soup
Serves 2

For the broth
550ml boiling water
55ml Hamadaya dashi stock
50ml Hamadaya mirin
5ml (1tsp) Hamadaya Shoyu Soy Sauce
5g (1tsp) sugar

For the Ramen Eggs (optional)
2 eggs
60ml Hamadaya Shoyu Soy Sauce
60ml Hamadaya Mirin
1 tsp sugar
(You will also need a clean zip-lock bag)

For the Udon Noodles
400g SauTao Udon Noodles or
180g Joshu Akagi Dry Udon Noodles

Spring onions, finely sliced (Pretty much a must)
Shichimi Togarashi (Pretty much a must)

Optional extras (generally not all at once)
Mange tout, blanched in boiling water for a couple of minutes
French beans, blanched as above
Wakame Seaweed
Shiitake mushrooms, pan fried
La-Yu Chilli Oil or White Mausu Peanut Rayu or Ping Coombes Shallot & Peanut Chilli Oil (basically which ever one you happen to have!)

To make the Ramen Eggs
1. If you are making the ramen eggs, they are much better made the night before. Combine the soy sauce, mirin and sugar in a small pan and bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar and cook away the alcohol from the mirin. Only simmer for a minute then turn the heat off and put to one side to cool.

2. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil. Carefully, drop the eggs in and simmer for 6 minutes - this will give you an egg with a creamy centre. If you'd rather have a firmer set egg, go for 7 minutes.

3. Once the eggs are cooked, immediately drop them into iced cold water to cool, then peel.

4. Using a zip-lock bag is perfect for marinating the eggs as you cut down on the amount of marinade that you need to use. So pop the peeled eggs into a bag, pour in the cooled marinade and leave in the fridge overnight.

Just before you want to eat
Prepare any other garnishes

1. What ever garnishes you are using, get these ready.  

Make the Broth

1. Combine all the ingredients together and keep warm.

To cook the noodles

1. If you are using semi-fresh or frozen Udon noodles, remove the noodles from the packaging and pour over boiling water. Leave for 1 minute, then drain.

To Plate Up

1. Pile the noodles between two bowls, pour over the hot broth


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