Udon Soup with Vegetables and Tofu

A few weeks ago, I bought a book of knitting patterns for babies. I am a total novice knitter, so I wasn’t expecting to actually complete anything, but I’ve now made two hats!

I was only planning on making 1, but the first one turned out to be kind of huge, so I went back to the store, bought smaller needles, and adjusted the pattern just a little bit, and it looks like hat #2 will fit a baby head a little better.

My other baby-related updates:
1. I passed the 1-hour glucose test, so no gestational diabetes, YAY!
2. At 28 weeks I finally caved and bought some maternity pants. I got some insanely comfortable full-panel jeans from Gap and I love them.
3. I have not purchased any baby items other than a few books and outfits, because we are still trying to find a bigger apartment (this 1-bedroom is just not going to work!) I’m SO ready to start setting up the nursery…we just have to move first! (I am trying REALLY hard not to stress about the fact that we haven’t found a place yet).

And now I’d like to tell you about noodles.

I LOVE noodles and I really don’t discriminate – all forms of Italian pasta, Thai rice noodles, Korean sweet potato noodles, soba, udon, somen…

I think I ate noodles in some form every single day that we lived in Thailand and I never got tired of them.

When I got the fabulous cookbook Kansha for my birthday, I knew that noodles would be the first thing I made. This recipe doesn’t take long to come together, but it does dirty a LOT of pans! Fortunately, it doesn’t require too many exotic ingredients. The only thing you may be hard to find, depending on where you are, is the hoshi yuba (dried beancurd), but it can be left out with no issues. I skipped the thin fried tofu and daikon (the former because it seemed healthier and easier to just use regular tofu, and the latter because I’m not a huge daikon fan). I also added enoki mushrooms because Mike and I both love them.

I ended up adding a little extra soy sauce to the dish, so I would recommend serving it on the side so you can add as much as suits your taste. The fresh ginger on top is definitely a MUST!

(adapted from Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh)

3 dried shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
3 cups water
2 heads baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
16 ounces firm tofu, pressed and drained, then cut into thin, bite-size pieces
3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
6 ounces enoki mushrooms, cut into 1″ lengths
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sake
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 sheets hoshi yuba or dried bean curd, broken into small pieces
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold water
8 ounces udon noodles
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

Combine the dried mushrooms and 3 cups water in a bowl and let stand for 1 hour. Squeeze excess liquid out of mushrooms and slice thinly. Reserve the soaking liquid.

Bring a small saucepan full of water to a boil and blanch the bok choy for about 45 seconds, then plunge immediately into ice water. Squeeze out liquid and slice the greens and stems thinly.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium high and cook the tofu pieces until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the udon according to package directions.

Heat a large saucepan over medium. Add 1 tbsp oil and both kinds of mushrooms. Stir fry for about a minute, then sprinkle with sugar and sake and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add the shiitake soaking liquid and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add the carrot, tofu, mirin, and soy sauce, and simmer another 3 minutes. Add the hoshi yuba and blanched bok choy and stir well.

Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Stir into the vegetable soup mixture and turn the heat to high. Cook for one minute, stirring, then remove from heat and add the cooked udon. Divide among 4 bowls, topping each with a little of the grated ginger.

5 Responses to “Udon Soup with Vegetables and Tofu”

  1. 1 Michael Melton June 15, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Even though I’m not a big shiitake fan, I really liked this noodle soup…the udon were amazing!

  2. 2 Kate June 15, 2011 at 10:22 am

    We are so in the same boat. I have my GD test Tuesday and I’m already nervous. And we move to a 2 bedroom at the end of July. But my mom does all my knitting for me! I’ll probably do a stocking after the baby is born, but hats, mits, blankets, and booties are her thing.

  3. 3 Kamaile June 15, 2011 at 11:47 am

    MMM that soup looks delicious! Your bebe hats look great, hardly a novice knitter! 🙂

  4. 4 Joelen June 16, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    How super exciting to be at your stage of pregnancy. I remember those days and loved every bit of it… and your hats are adorable! This soup reminded me of my mom, who’s currently half way around the world. She loves udon soup and it was comforting to see your pic. Thanks for posting this!

  5. 5 Melanie June 18, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Those hats are so cute!

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