An exotic Far Eastern dish of thick flour noodles swimming in a hot broth of soy sauce and fish stock.
Now I know what you guys are thinking: Where’s the acorn in this?! While you can technically purchase or even make acorn paste by yourself, it is quite the uncommon ingredient. I have therefore decided to substitute the acorn paste for marzipan. Added bonus: these cookies retain their shape, so if you always wanted to try using a cookie stamp, this is your chance!
You will need
720 milliliters of chicken, vegetable, dashi (fish), or konbu (kelp) stock
2 packs/serving of Udon noodles
2 boneless chicken thighs, 1 chicken breast or 4 Inariage (fried tofu pouches)
Approx. 1 cm fresh ginger (approx. ½ inch)
1 bunch of green onions
1 handful of Shiitake or Enoki mushrooms
2 large carrots
2 Tbs. soy sauce
60 milliliters of Mirin (Japanese cooking wine; approx. ¼ cup)
4 Tbs. of sake
Some sesame oil
4 slices of Narutomaki (fish cakes), if available
While the original Oriental Udon Lunch is based on Kitsune Udon (fried tofu and fish cakes), chicken udon is as equally warming as it is filling – perfect for a rainy or snowy winter day! It’s also perfect to get rid of any leftover vegetables and meat, so feel free to experiment with whatever you currently have in stock. I usually prepare this meal on days where I should do grocery shopping, but just can’t be bothered. Well, on to the recipe!
First, mix the soy sauce and Mirin in a bowl. Chop your chicken into bite-size pieces and toss them into the bowl as well. Cover with a foil and let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
Chop the leek into large slices. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan and fry both the leek and marinated chicken. You will only brown them, so just cook them for about 1 minute on each side on high heat. If you’re in a hurry (or lazy, like me), you can skip both marinating the meat and frying it with the leek. Should you choose to do so, just continue with the next paragraph and add the soy sauce and Mirin directly to the soup stock.
Fill a large pot with dashi broth and the leftover marinade. Peel the ginger and drop it into your broth. Add the leek and chicken. Heat the soup over medium to high heat until it starts boiling, then reduce the heat to medium andlet it simmer.
Meanwhile, slice the carrots and green onions however you like – julienne them! Dice them! Cut out fancy hearts with vegetable cutters! Once you’re done with your chopping masterpiece, toss them all into the pot and let them cook as well.
If you are using Inariage (aka fried tofu) instead, take out the tofu from the package and squeeze out any excess liquids. Some people thoroughly rinse them, but this is not necessary. Once the soup is boiling, add the tofu to the soup to let them soak up the delicious broth.
While the soup is simmering, prepare the Udon noodles according to package instructions. Put the cooked Udon noodles into a large bowl. Spoon the soup over the noodles. Bam! Done! Enjoy!