Thursday, 25 March 2010

winter, unwelcome back!

The Met Office finally announced the blossoming of Sakura (cherry) trees at Central Tokyo on 23 March. However... winter is back! The temperature is around 4˚C this afternoon and expected lowered as deepens into night. No more blues, pleeaaasee!!

My brain and tongue accordingly demand an autumnal or winter recipe to cook lots of mushrooms rich in flavour. And I’m a bit proud of Japanese “slurping-up” culture when eating this noodle dish, along with g-l-o-o-p-y, s-l-o-p-p-y and s-l-i-m-y YAM.

“Love it or hate it?” Well, don’t ask Marmite, but you.. decide.


* Serves 3
200g udon noodles
100-150g yamaimo yam, grated (should be available in a Japanese grocery)

30g shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
30g oyster mushrooms, broken up
30g shimeji mushrooms, broken up
30g enoki mushrooms, broken up and cut in half lengthwise
200ml water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1&1/2 tbsp mirin (sweetened sake used for Japanese cooking)
1 tsp sugar
2/3 tsp dashi-no-moto (an instant powder to enable Japanese fish broth. Buy one like this “Hon-Dashi” at a Japanese grocery)

Spring onion, finely chopped (as an alternative of Japanese “banno-negi”)
Myoga ginger, finely sliced (if available)

1. To boil the noodles, bring a deep pan of water (unsalted!) to the boil. Add the noodles and cook until just tender according to the packet instructions. Drain, refresh under cold running water and set aside.

2. To make the sauce, add water, soy, mirin, sugar and dashi-no-moto in a sauce pan. Heat until boiling, then add all the mushrooms and simmer for a couple of minutes. If you find the sauce is too salty at this stage, that’s perfect to go with the noodles which hold its silky pureness.

3. Divide the noodles between three bowls, top with the grated yamaimo and spoon over the sauce with the mushrooms.

4. To serve, sprinkle with the spring onion and myoga. This is not a “soup” noodle filled with a plenty of broth. Simply enjoy the noodles together with some spoonfuls of the sauce.

1. Any kind of udon, thick or thin, will do. Soba buckwheat noodles are fine too.
2. For more detail on “yamaimo”, pls refer to my previous blog here.
3. If you can’t get hold of the fresh mushrooms listed above, try some Asian varieties. Button mushrooms are ok, but NO Italian porcini as it’s too sumptuous in flavour.
4. Though you can eat this dish hot or cold, be noted to spoon over the sauce immoderately before serving. Otherwise, the noodle will get oversoftened, losing al dente.

FYI, “Myoga” is a pinky flower bud belonging to the ginger family, yet, it has more distinctive fragrance than the ginger root or even coriander. In Japan, sliced fresh myoga is used as a popular garnish for soups and noodles.


MaryMoh said...

This looks fabulous.....light and delicious. I love udon. I can have it any time of the day. I just can't wait for this cold to be over. It's still very windy and cold here in North Scotland....brrrrr. Nothing is more welcoming than hot soups.

the lacquer spoon said...

Dear Mary, Tokyo too. Spring is officially upon us, but still cold, cold and cold. Well, I need not only hot udon, but hot sake ;)

the lacquer spoon said...

Dear Rebecca, we're expecting a warm day is back tomorrow, and coming weekend will be perfect sunny in Tokyo! I'll email you later :)

TasteHongKong said...

Udon is one of my favorites, I even enjoyed those with only spring onion in Japan. So your version with so many mushrooms to me is divine.

the lacquer spoon said...

Dear Taste Hong Kong, thanks a lot for stopping by and glad you liked udon in Japan! Noodles are so versatile to eat anytime in a day, accompanying any meat and veg :)

Dinners and Dreams said...

Who knew all these kinds of mushrooms existed:) I hope the weather has gtten better.

Happy Easter and have a wonderful weekend!


the lacquer spoon said...

Dear Dinners and Dreams, thanks for your comment! It’s still cold and rainy-ish weather in Tokyo today, but lots of people outside because of “hanami”, cherry-blossom viewing :)

Happy Easter too!!

Carolyn Jung said...

I love a good bowl of Japanese noodles. And udon with tons of mushrooms and yams sounds like the perfect meal on a chilly night like tonight.

the lacquer spoon said...

Dear Carolyn, thank you for the comment! Asian-born noodles are admired by many in the world, right? Wish everyday were udon day :)

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