Thursday, April 21, 2005


Udon Noodle Lunch

Once in awhile I will try to see how long I can go without a visit to the market. Weird, but true. It's a great exercise in creative cooking and general pantry cleanout. This does not include getting fresh produce, which I cannot live without, its just to see how many of my dry goods I can use up before I go buying anymore. Limited shelf space makes this a must in my little world. Yesterday’s challenge, after poking around in the cupboard for awhile was to find a tasty dish to make with a packet of udon noodles.

Udon is the beautiful Japanese wheat noodle that is interestingly complex to make. Basically you bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add the udon, when it comes back to a boil add a ¼ cup of cold water. Do this four times. After the fourth time, add a pinch of salt, cover the udon and let steam for 15 minutes. That, even to me, who doesn’t mind a multi step recipe, is pretty involved. But then again, they do become the most deliciously fattened, slurpy, flavorful and versatile noodles that can be eaten hot or cold and with sauce or in soups. Yesterday, I made them into a simple dish. Here is the recipe. Try, and enjoy.

½ package udon noodles, cooked
2 stalks celery, diced
½ cup water chestnuts, sliced
½ small red onion, sliced thin
¼ cup edamame beans, cooked and shelled
1 red jalepeno, minced
¼ cup water or chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
2 teaspoons mirin
a few drops of sesame oil
Garnish: sesame seeds and ichimi (Japanese pepper mix)

In a large sauté pan, over a medium low flame, add all the ingredients except the garnishes and the noodles. Heat, stirring constantly until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add the noodles and continue to stir until coated, another 2 minutes. Garnish with sesame seeds and ichimi.

Makes enough for two large portions


Rice is the main carbohydrate food in Japan, consumed with every meal. However, the real basis of the Japanese diet is not rice but fish, consumed at more than 154 pounds per person per year. In fact the Japanese consume about twice as much fish as meat

Egg consumption in Japan is higher than in America- 40 pounds per person per year, versus 34 in the US.

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I need to invest in some sesame oil. I always put it off but there are so many recipes I want to try that I can't make without it and this one is no less delicious sounding (and looking).
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