This is one of my favorite light dinners. A big bowl of Japanese noodles in a tasty broth, and for a richer and even more irresistible variation add Tempura Vegetables or tempura prawns on top! This broth immediately alkalizes and strengthens your blood, giving you a happy and satisfied feeling. After a long day in the kitchen this was often the only thing us chefs felt like eating – it’s so light and easy to digest – we would all sit down together and slurp our noodle soup – did you know that it’s impolite in Japan if you don’t slurp?!
|Udon, somen or soba noodles (2 packages) – cook according to instructions on package – careful not to overcook!||1 lb||500gr|
|Donko Shiitake mushrooms – Donko indicates a high quality of shiitake mushroom – but any will do||1-3 pieces||1-3 pieces|
|Kombu sea vegetables||2 inches||5 cm|
|Bonito fish flakes (optional but very tasty if you are not a pure vegetarian!)||½ cup||5 gr|
|Sea salt||1 ½ tsp||1 ½ tsp|
|Shoyu natural soy sauce||2-3 Tbsp||2-3 Tbsp|
|Garnishes – just choose the ones you like best.|
|Spring onions/scallions – washed, trimmed and thinly sliced||¼ cup||5 gr|
|Cilantro/coriander – washed, dried and chopped||¼ cup||5 gr|
|Toasted Nori – cut with scissors into thin strips||2 sheets||2 sheets|
|Toasted sesame oil||dash||dash|
|Fresh black pepper||To taste||To taste|
|Crushed red chili flakes||pinch||pinch|
|Slices of lemon – adds great flavor||4-6 slices||4-6 slices|
|Toasted sesame seeds||2-3 Tbsp||2-3 Tbsp|
- Soak the shiitake and kombu for at least 15 minutes in 8 cups of water before putting on a low flame and bringing to a boil very slowly – this coaxes the shiitake and kombu to release their flavor
- When the soup comes to a boil remove the kombu and discard (or you can use it in another dish)
- Take out the shiitake – remove the stems (they are tough), cut the rest of the mushroom in thin slices and return to the soup
- Add the sea salt and gently simmer for 15 minutes
- Use a medium size fine mesh strainer that will fit into the soup pot and rest on the edge – place the bonito flakes in the strainer and allow them to release their flavor into the soup for 5 minutes (soup should be simmering, but not boiling).
- Use chopsticks to squeeze out the bonito flakes and discard
- Add shoyu to taste and simmer the soup 3 more minutes
- Serve hot over your choice of noodles with your choice of garnishes and enjoy!
Japanese pasta is a little difficult to cook properly. One trick called 'shocking the pasta' works very well. Once you the pasta is boiling, add 1 cup / 220 ml of cold water. Wait until it comes to a boil again and then add another cup of cold water. This helps the pasta cook more evenly and prevents it from getting mushy on the outside.