It’s so cute how much my dog loves the fall. Summer is tough for a Bernese mountain dog, and when the weather begins to change, she notices right away, and it is obvious. The first day when the temperature really drops, and there’s a nice chill in the air; it’s one of my favorite days. I open the garage door to begin our morning walk and she trots out as she usually does… but once she hits the open air, she stops. She turns back around and looks at me with a ferocious tail wag, and bounds back in to share her excitement with me (i.e. PET ME!). It’s the sweetest thing.
I love the onset of fall too, though I am less enthusiastic about winter than she is. For now, let’s dwell on fall and how wonderful the weather is! Let’s celebrate cooling down, and the need for a warm bowl of soup to comfort us.
While cooking up this bowl of goodness, I was daydreaming about the day I met Bill Kim, an awesome chef in Chicago. I was at Urban Belly, one of his restaurants, and eating the ramen, which is the best EVER. That broth! Insane! So, when Kenny asked who the chef was, I remembered I had read something about him and how he worked under Charlie Trotter. I looked him up on my phone… and realized he was hanging around the kitchens right in front of my table! I got a chance to thank him for a great meal, but I didn’t get the lowdown on that broth. He was a super nice guy, but not ready to divulge his secrets! He did, however, mention he used a lot of red miso. So, here’s me, trying to emulate his broth with the only known ingredient – red miso.
This udon soup is very different from his ramen (I obviously don’t add up!), but I do like it a lot. The broth was a combination of some of my favorite flavors – ginger, miso, chili garlic paste, mushrooms. Its a simple meal, but a healthy one. Miso, a soybean paste, is full of protein and vitamins. You’ll find red, black, white, and yellow in the store. You can read about the differences here, essentially the additional ingredient the soybeans are fermented with. Red and black tend to have a stronger flavor.
Udon you should be able to find in the Asian section of your grocery, or better yet, in an Asian grocery! Fresh ones vacuum packed are lovely, but their cooking time is drastically different so please, cook according to package instructions on time. I also like the dried ones, but the definitely are not quite as good as the others. Fresh udon are a favorite in our house, especially in this Tom Yum Udon!
Udon Noodle SoupPrint Recipe
- 1 tbsp butter (or olive oil for Vegan)
- 2-3 portabella mushrooms depending on size
- 2 oz shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 3-5 tbsp red miso
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 1-2 tsp of chili garlic paste
- 3oz dry udon noodles
- 1 small bunch scallions
- Pepper to taste
First, heat a soup pot over medium heat. Cut the stems off the portobello mushrooms and dice. Slice the portobello mushrooms into 1/4 - 1/2 inch strips. Cut the course stems off of the shiitake mushrooms and chop, and roughly chop the caps. Add the butter to the hot pan and allow to melt. Add the portobellos and about 1/4 tsp salt. Saute for 5-7 minutes. Add the shiitake mushrooms and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes. Peel and dice the ginger.
Add the sesame oil, prepared ginger, chili garlic paste and miso to the pan. Start out with a smaller amount of miso, as miso can vary, and add chili paste to your desired level of spice (I added 2 tsp). Saute for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add 8 cups water and bring to a boil.
Once the broth is boiling, lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. Taste the broth at this point, and add more miso or chili paste as necessary.
Add the dry udon, and cook according to package directions. I cooked mine a minute less than the package said (10 minutes) because the noodles will continue to cook in the hot broth once removed from heat. Pepper broth to taste. Chop the scallions.
To serve, sprinkle chopped scallions on the top. Soup keeps for 5 days.