POT-COOKED UDON IN MISO SOUP

Udon is a white wheat noodle, more popular in the south and west of Japan than the north. It is eaten with various hot and cold sauces and soups. Here, in this dish known as Miso Nikomi Udon, the noodles are cooked in a clay pot with a rich miso soup.

SERVES FOUR
INGREDIENTS
  • 200 g / 7 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast portions
  • 10 ml / 1 tsp sake
  • 2 abura-age (thin deep fried tofu)
  • 900 ml / 1½ pints / 3¾ cups dashi stock, or the same amount of water and 7.5 ml / 1½ tsp dashi-no-moto
  • 6 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, stalks removed, quartered
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and chopped into 3 mm / 1/8 in lengths
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp mirin
  • about 90 g / 3½ oz aka miso or hatcho miso
  • 300 g / 11 oz dried udon noodles
  • 4 eggs
  • seven spice powder (optional)
  1. Cut the chicken into bitesize pieces and place in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with sake and leave to marinate in a cool place for 15 minutes.
  2. Put the abura-age in a sieve and thoroughly rinse with hot water from the kettle to wash off the oil. Drain on kitchen paper and cut each abura-age into four squares.
  3. To make the soup, heat the dashi stock in a large pan. When it has come to the boil, add the chicken pieces, shiitake mushrooms and abura-age and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the spring onions.
  4. Put the mirin and miso paste into a small bowl. Scoop 30 ml / 2 tbsp soup from the pan and mix this in well.
  5. To cook the udon, boil at least 2 litres / 3½ pints / 9 cups water in a large pan. The water should not come higher than two-thirds the depth of the pan. Cook the udon for 6 minutes and drain.
  6. Put the udon in one large flameproof clay pot or casserole (or divide among four small pots). Mix the miso paste into the soup and check the taste. Add more miso if required. Ladle in enough soup to cover the udon, and arrange the soup ingredients on top of the udon.
  7. Put the soup on a medium heat and break an egg on top. When the soup bubbles, wait for 1 minute, then cover and remove from the heat. Leave to stand for 2 minutes. Serve with seven spice powder, if you like.
Pot-Cooked Udon In Miso Soup