Thursday, 25 March 2010
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.
YAM AND MUSHROOM UDON
* 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
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.