Mmm tempura Mmm udon!! When in Japan a few years ago, a dear friend and I stumbled upon the most amazing little Udon Restaurant in Yuzawa. It was a cold and rainy day outside but the tiny restaurant was so warm and filled with amazing smells and sounds of people slurping and enjoying udon.
To this day I still rate the Udon I ate for lunch, filled with amazingly fantastic mushrooms, as one of the absolute best meals I have ever eaten, it was so good we returned with the rest of our friends for dinner that night : )
Udon soups are a favourite but I am always a little hesitant to order them at restaurants as they will quite often be made with a Dashi (stock) that has bonito (dried fish flakes) added. So inspired by a comment left by a wonderful Veggie num num reader Chooch on facebook, I embarked on making my own vegetarian dashi from kombu (dried seaweed).
I have included the stock in the recipe below. Not sure if it is very traditional, but I added miso paste to the kombu stock in place of bonito to add a salty/sweetness. Look for dried kombu or readymade kombu stock in your Asian Supermarket, if buying readymade check to insure it does not include bonito (fish).
With the traditional stock and ingredients this vegetarian udon recipe turned out simply delicious!
We added tempura because it is a favourite of ours; try using whatever in season vegetables you prefer. Udon is enjoyed many ways, with tempura, with deep fried tofu (Kitsune Udo), poached egg (Tsukimi Udon) or you could simply add steamed vegetables for a delicious and healthy vegan meal. Oishii!!
Preparation time: 25mins
Makes 1½ L (appx. 3 pints)
- 20g dried kombu seaweed
- 10g dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2L (4 pints) water
- ½-1½ tbs miso paste
Add the kombu and shiitake mushrooms to the water in a large pot. Bring to a very gentle simmer and allow to cook, without boiling, for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve to remove kombu and mushroom and return to the pot. Add the miso paste and stir through until dissolved. Set aside. Could be kept in the fridge for a couple or days or frozen until use.
Preparation time: 30mins
- 4 mushrooms
- 4 slices, eggplant
- 4 slices, sweet potato
- 4 broccoli florets
- 150g firm tofu, cubed
- 2 cups rice bran oil
- 1 free range egg (or equivalent in egg replacer)
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cup plain flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ L (3 pints) kombu stock
- 1/3 cup Tamari/Japanese soy sauce
- 2 tbs mirin
- 600g fresh or dried udon prepared to packet instructions
- sliced green onions
Bring the kombu stock to a gently simmer with the soy sauce and mirin, simmer and keep warm until tempura is ready.
To make the batter beat the egg gently, add the cold water, flour and salt and whisk together quickly. Have your vegetables ready to go before making the batter so you can use it straight away.
Heat the oil in a deep saucepan until the surface begins to shimmer. Taking on piece at a time dip the vegetables into the batter and then into the hot oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes until the batter just starts to golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper.
Have your udon soup ready to go so you can add the tempura vegetable fresh and crisp, they can soon turn soft so eating them straight away is best.
Dish out the prepared udon noodles into 4 separate bowls, ladle over broth and top with tempura, garnish with green onions and a little Japanese chilli seasoning. Eat while hot with chopsticks, raising the bowl to your mouth so you can slurp up all the deliciousness : )
My deadly friend Tina and our Amazing Yuzawa Udon :)
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