We have a strange heat wave impacting SoCal these last few days. It kinda comes and goes and I cannot wait till it’s finally over so I can officially welcome my favorite cooking season of the year and while I wait, here’s another asian inspired recipe that I wanted to document here and share with you. I love udon noodles and this dish, in particular, is becoming a tradition in the house. I have made it twice this week it is that good. Perfect comfort concoction in a bowl and as you’ve probably already guessed really simple to make. It’s’ noodles come on, let’s go do this!
Ingredients (makes 2):
2 packages frozen udon noodles.
8 dried anchovies. Finely chopped.
4-8 garlic cloves. Thin slice.
2-4 scallions. Dices green and white parts.
12 fresh or dry shitake mushrooms sliced.
1-2 tsp gochujang.
4 sheets of nori. Crumbled.
1 Tbsp minced fermented takana.
soy sauce to taste.
2 Tbsp sesame oil.
2 tsp sugar.
Get those noodles ready.
Frozen fresh noodles are pretty popular and they’re amazing. I know the word frozen can raise a few eyebrows but if you haven’t, give them a try. If you prefer to go with dry noodles then follow the package instructions. If using frozen, boil some water, dump the frozen noodles in it for a minute or until fully thawed and remove from the heat. Set aside and get the rest of your cooking ready. I usually rinse mine in tab water and reserve. I don’t like the noodles getting soggy in the hot cooking water.
I used dry mushrooms. I love dehydrated ingredients. They’re extremely convenient. This recipe would equally work with fresh mushrooms obviously. When using dry mushrooms, you will have to reconstitute them in hot water, or cold water overnight. Dry mushrooms float so make sure you can weigh them down. I used a smaller cup that fits my pyrex cup nicely. I also used my microwave because it’s very convenient and you don’t wanna wait overnight, you can nuke them a few times to speed up the process. Just keep an eye on them because the stock they release can be very frothy when heated and will overflow. You don’t want to waste any of that. Once hydrated slice them and set them aside. Keep the stock as well.
In a wok or large pan add the sesame oil over high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms and don’t stir until you get a nice golden color at least on one side of them. Should take a couple of minutes. Now add the scallions (just the white part) stirring a few times. Now add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or so. Add the anchovies. You can now deglaze the pan with the mushroom stock and reduce. Once dry, add the takana and the gochujang. You can add a tbsp or 2 of water at this point. The whole point here is to render a quick stock of all of these ingredients and then reduce it to a glaze before the noodles join in. Time to add the soy sauce and the sugar. Keep stirring and reducing. Add the nori.
Now the noodles can join in.
It’s pretty much done at this point but make sure that the noodles fry for a bit and that most of the liquid is gone. The starch in the noodles will thicken up the stir-fry and everything will come together very elegantly and if you’re wondering about textures, the anchovies provide nice crunchy bits as well as the takana. Time to add the green part of the scallions and serve! That’s all I got tonight, guys. Cheers!