A warm bowl of tender noodles in savory pescatarian seafood broth is the ultimate comfort food in some parts of the world, especially in places like Japan where seafood and noodles reign supreme!
On Shikoku, the smallest and least populated of Japan’s four main islands, sanuki udon are all the rage. These thick, flat, white noodles are made from wheat flour and have a dense, slightly chewy texture. You can buy them dried, fresh or precooked or alternatively, you can make your own. However, I have discovered so many quality brands on the market that it’s hardly worth the effort unless a fun kitchen project is on the agenda.
Dashi is a broth made from bonito, a large game fish that is often mistaken for mackerel. It is an important fish in Japanese cuisine, but it is rarely eaten as a meal; it is mostly dried, fermented and made into thin flakes. These wispy shavings are made into broth that serves as the base for many traditional dishes like miso soup and ramen. Bonito lends an unmistakable umami flavor when combined with seaweed to make a broth distinct and delicious.
Don’t be fooled by the pre-made instant powdered version of this broth that can be found in most Asian and specialty markets. Take the time to make our own and you will be rewarded!
2 pounds refrigerated, fresh or frozen udon noodles
4 cups awase dashi broth
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1 thumb ginger, quartered
8–10 mushrooms (a mix of enoki, shiitake, oyster, maitake or your favorite variety)
4 baby bok choy, halved
4 soft-boiled eggs, halved
4 large scallions, green part only, sliced
Japanese chili flake, as needed
Suggested toppings: Tempura shrimp, tofu, sliced surimi, tempura vegetables, shredded carrot, daikon radish, negi (Japanese green onion)
Start by making the dashi broth by visiting my post for the recipe.
Add the filtered water to a pot along with the kombu and allow it to soak for 24 hours. Set aside and prep the ingredients for the udon bowl.
Cook the udon noodles per package instructions. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot, bring the awase dashi broth to a simmer. Add the mirin and soy sauce and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Turn off the heat and add the ginger, mushrooms, and baby bok choy, then cover with a lid.
To serve, place equal portions of the cooked udon noodles in 4 bowls along with the awase dashi broth. Top with the mushrooms, bok choy, soft boiled eggs, scallions, Japanese chili flake and other suggested toppings as desired. Enjoy immediately.