Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Souper Duper

I love this kind of dinner, a hot seaweedy broth with soft udon noodles, loads of veg and egg fried tofu (or whatever other topping is in the fridge at the time: prawns, chicken, pork, anything goes). I got the idea for the crispy tofu from Ching-He Huang's book "Chinese food made easy".

Noodle soup is perfect for using up whatever you have left in the fridge
My first dabblings with dashi broth and udon, a couple of years ago, were under the guidance of Harumi Kurihara's book "Japanese Home Cooking". It's addictive stuff and I would really recommend this cookbook to anyone who likes Japanese food.
First of all pop a couple of sachets of dashi stock (or a litre of veg, chicken or fish stock) into a pan, with a strip of kelp/kombu if you have it. Bring it up to a simmer and then leave on a low heat.

Then chop up your veg, I used sliced spring greens and radishes, a couple of leeks cut lengthways and a few sliced mushrooms. Sliced garlic is also a must!
I pre-prepared a garnish mix of sliced red chilli, spring onions and fresh coriander.

The messy bit is the tofu, you need to cut the block into big cubes and roll each cube first in cornflour and then in beaten egg. Chef Steve Watts told me a good technique: use one hand just for the flour and one hand just for the egg, that way you don't end up with two hands coated in sticky mess and each layer stays clean and separate.

The tofu I use the most (and like the best) is R&R Tofu's "Clear Spot" label.

Drop the flour-and-egg coated cubes into a hot frying pan with a bit of oil and leave them to cook until the bases are crispy. Turn them over and onto their sides in turn until you're happy they are cooked the way you want them. Pop them into a bowl and set aside.

Drop a handful of dried udon noodles into the hot broth to cook and reload the frying pan with all of the veg, stir the veg and noodles until both are cooked. 
Add a dollop of grated ginger, a dash of soy sauce, a spoon of white miso paste, mirin and some lime juice to the broth *.

Share out the noodles and broth between two bowls, top with the veg, then the tofu cubes and finally sprinkle with the chilli, spring onion and coriander.

* You'll notice that I don't give exact measurements for anything, that's because I don't usually cook in a precise way. I like to taste the food as I cook and add the amount of each ingredient based on what I think it needs. 
If I haven't made a similar dish before though, I'll use a recipe from a book or the internet to give me inspiration as to what ingredients should be used and in what proportions. Once I've made the dish a few times I'll go by memory and taste.

You can get loads of really fabulous Japanese products (like miso paste, mirin, wakame, kombu and so on) from this amazing shop: Atari Ya
You can also buy just about any Asian ingredient, including a huge range of noodles, at a reasonable price from: Korea Foods

No comments:

Post a Comment