I'm working on a number of different writing projects all at once, but until any of them are finished and ready to share, this will have to suffice.
Here's another simple Japanese dish that uses udon (Japanese wheat flour noodles). While many non-Japanese people are familiar with udon, they've usually only encountered it as a noodle soup with tempura-fried shrimp or vegetable fritters. But udon is also excellent when made into a stir fry. There are many variations of yakiudon, and in Japan one happily finds that, like many Japanese dishes, this can differ greatly by region.
For a little Korean flair we added kim chee to the recipe, which I find contributes quite a bit of flavor, though its pungency, perhaps through cooking, is almost negligible. We usually eat this for lunch, though on this occasion we had it for dinner. Also, if you're going to use udon, you may want to consider freezing it first. Surprisingly, frozen udon gives you more suppleness than udon that has been kept for a while on a store shelf or hidden away in a cabinet.
This recipe, by the way, serves two people.
2 100 g (3.5 oz) packages of udon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 lb pork loin (sukiyaki pork works best), sliced thin
1 bunch chives
3 shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup kim chee
1 teaspoon dashi
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 package bonito flakes
1. Boil water.
2. Add udon (one 100 g of udon is enough for one person) and boil according to directions on package. Boiling times differ according to the udon brand. Ours suggested 10 minutes.
3. While draining noodles, rinse with cold water. When finished, your noodles should be semitransparent and slightly firmer than spaghetti is after boiling.
4. Heat vegetable oil in wok or large pan.
5. Add pork loin and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add chives, mushrooms, and any other vegetable you have available, such as bean sprouts, cabbage, chopped carrots, green peppers, etc. You can even thrown in a handful of medium-sized shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes.
7. Add kim chee and cook for 3 minutes.
8. Stir in dashi (we use the dry, pellet form), soy sauce, and mirin. Cook until liquid mostly evaporates.
9. Serve in bowls. Top with half a package of bonito flakes and, if you have it, some Japanese pickled ginger (gari – the pink kind you eat with sushi).
P.S. I just received an order of Euell Gibbons books about foraging for and preparing wild foods. If I'm lucky, I'll do a little write-up of those at some point, too -- hopefully after exploring some of the wild foods available to me in Hawaii. If anyone has this sort of experience, in Hawaii or elsewhere, I'd love to hear about it.