| Prep Time: 10 mins
| Cook Time: 35 mins
| Total Time: 45 mins
You may need: Dried Garlic Powder
The Japanese love noodles, be it ramen, soba, or udon noodle soup, and we thank them for perfecting the ultimate meal in a bowl. Udon is a thick noodle made with wheat flour and is typically offered with a wide variety of optional ingredients: beef, chicken, fish, tempura, veggies, and / or a soft-boiled egg are common items to select from.
What makes Japanese soups so tasty is the silky, savory broth. Most Udon soups are built on a workhorse broth called 'kakejiru' made of dashi (an umami broth), soy sauce, and mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine). Making the dashi yourself is definitely worth the extra step and very simple if you have the right ingredients. Dashi is made from one or more of the following: dried shiitake mushrooms, dried kelp, or bonito flakes (shaved smoked skipjack tuna). If you can't find one of these in your supermarket, plan ahead and order on Amazon. Use our recipe to learn to make dashi - doing so immediately vaults you to the top 1% of all home cooks. You're welcome 🙂 Our featured spice blend in this dish is Shichimchi Togarashi (Japanese 7 Spice). Use a pinch anywhere you want a citrus aroma and a unique, peppery finish.
1 package of Udon noodles (or use spaghetti, ramen or other favorite noodles)
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 package of beech mushrooms, separated & spongy base removed (or use 8-10 crimini mushrooms, sliced)
Shiitake mushrooms (from dashi), sliced
1 carrot, sliced into rounds
2 eggs (optional, for soft-boiled eggs)
1 leek stalk, white portion sliced into rounds
2 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tsp of Piquant Post Shichimchi Togarashi blend (Note: let folks add a pinch or 2 to their own bowl before adding more to taste)
4 pieces of shrimp tempura, fish stick, fish cake, etc (optional - find in frozen section at market)
Dashi is the magical umami broth that is critical to Japanese cuisine. Making the broth will give you a ton of street cred among foodies and chefs alike. It's so simple to make but does require 1 (or any combo) of the 3 ingredients listed with an asterisk: Kombu (sea kelp), Dried Shiitake mushrooms, and /or bonito flakes (dried tuna shavings). Trust us - make dashi and see how wonderfully it flavors everything from sautéed spinach to quinoa.
You can find all of these dashi ingredients online such as at Amazon, but many supermarkets carry dried shiitake and bonito flakes now in their ethnic food sections.
The key to making perfectly gooey soft-boiled eggs is time. Exactly 6-7 minutes to be exact for cold eggs from the fridge. Set a timer and pull the eggs out right away. Set them in the cold/ice water with the spinach to stop them from cooking more. After peeling, carefully slice them in half lengthwise to achieve a noodle-house plating.
Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don't sweat it if you don't have them.
First, make the dashi (broth): Add water and 2 pieces of Kombu and the shiitake to a sauce pan, heat the water on Med-High, and just bring to a rolling boil (~5-7 mins). Promptly, remove the Kombu and (save) shiitake. Add bonito flakes. Then, boil for ~5 mins then remove from heat. Next, squeeze moisture from saved shiitake mushrooms into broth and slice/reserve mushrooms for use in soup. When cool, pour the broth through a strainer (or paper towel) into another bowl to remove bonito. Yields about 7 cups dashi. Refrigerate up to 1 month for future use.
Fill a medium sauce pan with 4-6 cups water and bring to a boil. Next, add spinach and blanche for 2-3 mins. Remove to bowl filled with cold/ice water to stop cooking. After spinached is removed, carefully add eggs to boiling water and cook for 6 mins (set a timer!). Remove eggs to ice water bath with spinach and let cool for 5 mins. Meanwhile, add the udon to the boiling water and cook for 5 mins. Drain noodles, eggs, spinach and set aside.
Add 5 cups dashi, 2 cups water, soy sauce, mirin, shiitake mushrooms, and carrot to to the empty sauce pan and bring to a light boil. Next, add in beech mushrooms and leek and cook for 4 mins. Remove from heat. Then, add spinach & noodles to broth.
Peel soft-boiled eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Serve udon noodle soup in bowls and garnish with half an egg, shrimp tempura / fish stick, and sprinkle with a pinch of Shichimchi Togarashi to taste (sample a small amount of Shichimchi before adding more!).
Shichimchi Togarashi is a typical condiment on Japanese tables. It is a zesty, peppery, citrusy spice and the Sancho pepper adds a unique mouth tingling feeling. You can use it on any dish where you want a unique pop of flavor. We recommend sampling it in small amounts (a few sprinkles) before adding larger amounts.
If you don't have 10 minutes to make the dashi or cannot order the ingredients online, you can swap in your favorite broth as a substitute.
You can use any kind of noodles you like for this dish spaghetti, ramen, buckwheat and even gluten-free noodles will all taste great.
If you can't buy mirin in your market, you can sub in a dry sherry or a sweet marsala wine. Dry white wine or rice vinegar will also work, though you'll need to counteract the sourness with about a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar for every tablespoon of dry white wine or rice vinegar you use.
Don't know if they carry beech mushrooms (aka Shimeji) at your supermarket? No problem, substitute in any mushrooms you like!
This Udon Noodle Soup is easy to make into a vegan dish. Simply remove the bonito flakes from the dashi recipe, remove the eggs, and substitute in a vegan fish cake/stick, tofu, or more veggies into the soup recipe.
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