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Udon Noodles & Greens

Some shop for shoes, some go ga-ga in a grocery store. In reality I do love both, but since this is a food blog, I will stick to the grocery for now. One of my favorite types of grocery stores to go to is an Asian market. The types of noodles and sauces are fascinating and as I am not very well-versed in how to do anything other than follow a recipe in this type of cuisine, I buy a variety of noodles and sauces and experiment. Sometimes it is a flop, and sometimes it is good enough to make a post.

Never fear if you do not live near an Asian market, many large groceries have international aisles, and will have a few from which to choose.

Udon noodles have become a staple in my kitchen. I now know how to make sesame noodles and a stir-fry or two. Udon Noodles & Greens is a basic recipe that you can use as a spring board to learn to do other dishes.

What makes Udon Noodles different?

Udon noodles are made from a common wheat flour, are generally thick and have a chewy texture. Pasta is made from durum semolina wheat, and the kneading process is slightly different, hence a difference in the texture of the noodle. Udon noodles hold up well in a soup as well as a stir-fry.

The Greens

You will see a bit of frosty ice on the greens that I used. When I have greens in abundance, which happens quite frequently between my garden, friend’s gardens and the farmer’s markets, I freeze them. First they get cleaned, and then they get frozen in plastic bags. Freeze? Your eyebrows are up and you are slightly aghast. Well, practical is my go to philosophy in the kitchen. If the greens are going to be cooked, and there are too many to consume, freeze them. When greens are cooked, they become soft anyway. Freezing is not going to hurt them. It does several things; gives you something to throw into a soup of stir-fry at a moment’s notice, and means that they are not going to the compost bin or landfill.

Garlic Paste

Fresh garlic is great, but when you want the garlic to meld into the sauce and you want a less pungent garlic flavor, garlic paste is perfect. Never, ever, ever buy that precut little dice of garlic that is floating in yellow or greenish water. Ick. It always has an off flavor. Garlic paste is pressed fresh, processed into a paste and then sealed in a metal tube. Real garlic, not floating in some brackish slime. My go to brand is Amore. Look in the herb section or the tomato sauce sections of the market.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce comes in a wide variety of styles. Choose from regular, low-sodium, wheat free, gluten free… Teriyaki sauce is different. You can substitute one for the other in this dish, but there is a difference in flavor. Buy and try, its hard to explain the nuance here. I used regular soy sauce. First, I love salt and salt adds flavor to food. If you are watching your sodium intake, buy the low-sodium and then season accordingly. The second reason that I got the Kikkoman Sauce with the little red top is that it looks like the ones that sit on restaurant tables and it gets a laugh when pulled out of the cabinet. If you can’t have fun with food, why eat?

Udon Noodles & Greens

Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 9,5 oz/270g Udon Noodles (dried, fresh, or frozen)
  • 1 bunch of greens, fresh or frozen (kale, chard mustard greens, lettuces - all work well)
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 4 TBSP toasted sesame oil
  • 2 TBSP (or more to taste) soy sauce
  • 8oz/230ml vegetable broth

Instructions

1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles according to the directions on the package.

2

In a large sauce pot, heat the sesame oil.

3

Add the onions and cook until softened, but not browned.

4

Add greens and cook down a bit.

5

Add soy sauce and broth, bring to a simmer.

6

Reserve several ladles of noodle water

7

Drain noodles.

8

Add to the pot with the greens and onions.

9

Toss until wet coated. If more liquid is needed, add the reserved noodle water.

10

Add more soy sauce if needed for taste and serve.

Notes

Tofu, shrimp or chicken can easily be added to this dish. Cook chicken separately. Tofu and shrimp which will heat or cook through in a short time, can be added after the step where the soy sauce and broth have been added.

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