Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Udon Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms in Ginger Broth

 I have been trying to keep up with my goal of 2 vegetarian meals a week.  I just haven't posted them either because they haven't fit into my blogging schedule or because we haven't liked them enough to share.  If you remember, a couple weeks ago, I was cooking out of a Martha Stewart (Martha Stewart Living Annual Recipes 2004) cookbook.  Of the recipes I tried, there was only one that I was 100 percent sure it belonged on the blog.  This dish was one of the others we tried and after dinner that night, my family wasn't all that impressed.  I thought they would love it.  I really liked it though and the more I have thought about it, the more I think it deserves a post.  I want to eat it again.  I wonder if I scaled back the ginger a bit next time if they would all be happier with the dish.  Either way, I am making it again and they are going to eat it.  Right?  Right!

When I came upon this recipe I was really trying to step outside my comfort zone and cook some new things.  I was excited about the idea of expanding my horizons.  Do you like it when I speak so dramatically about dinner?  Anyway, when I got to the grocery store with my two children, I realized why I rarely try new dishes.  I was in the international isle, looking for udon noodles with my kids ramming the cart into everything in sight and I was asking for the millionth time for them to please just be patient, while on lookers gave me the look they often do when I am making a scene in the store.  At that moment I realized why I just cook the same things all the time.  I can grab the same old things quickly and get the heck outta the grocery store!!  I did find the noodles and I did expand my horizons and I am glad I did.  I finally found soba noodles, which the recipes says, can be substituted for udon so that's what I used.  Now I know where they are and I can just grab them next time instead of making it such a process.  This recipe calls for chicken broth so I guess, technically, it's not vegetarian, but I am sure vegetable broth could be substituted if you are more strict about that kind of thing.  I don't know that I have ever used fresh shiitake mushrooms before.  They were also a bit ticky for me to find.  Who doesn't keep all the fresh mushrooms together?  It's puzzling. 

All in all, this is a pretty healthy and tasty dish.  (If you ask me, anyway.)  I kind of want to make this again tonight.  My throat's a little scratchy and this is looking perfect.

Udon Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms in Ginger Broth

8 oz japanese udon or soba noodles
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp canola oil
1 ½ T minced ginger (I will probably just do 1 T next time)
2 shallots, sliced very thin
½ lb shiitake mushrooms (about 12), wiped clean and quartered
2 cups chicken broth (or bullion and water)
1 tsp rice-wine vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
3 oz spinach, stemmed, washed and cut into 2 inch strips (about 3 cups)
4 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally


Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add noodles and cook until al dente according to package directions.  Drain and toss with sesame oil and return to pot to keep warm.  In a small saute pan, heat canola oil over med heat.  Add ginger, shallots and mushrooms.  Cook, stirring constantly until mixture starts to soften and brown, about 2 minutes.  Stir in chicken stock, vinegar, and soy sauce.  Bring to simmer and cook until mushrooms are very tender, about 5 minutes.  Add spinach and scallions and stir to combine.  Separate noddles into 4 bowls and divide broth mixture even over the top.

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Update: 11/30/11
I made this again last night and reduced the ginger by about half and it was better received.  I also used baby bella mushrooms because I couldn't find shiitake, for real, this time at the store and it was delish!  I don't know if anyone else loved it as much as me, but they liked it better.  Also each serving only has 272 calories.  I'll take it.

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