Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Recipe: Udon Noodles with Edamame, Peppers & Mushrooms in Ginger-Garlic Broth

Whenever I'm on the road to recovery after being sick, I get these massive feng shui attacks where I just have to deep clean everything and rid myself of all that is unnecessary.  I don't know why, or if it even happens to anyone else, but I like the end results because even my nano-apartment can appear spacious after I'm finished.  Last weekend I went on my first cleaning rampage of 2011, throwing away all evidence that I'd ever had a sinus infection, and reorganizing cupboards & closets while Hana & StuKitty looked at me with questioning eyes, in the hopes that they might be allowed to "help" (which in Cat means "get in the way & play").

While I was busy working on one of my kitchen cupboards, I came across some non-perishables I'd forgotten I still had.  Way at the top were some seasoned panko crumbs, some baking powder, and a couple of packages of udon noodles.  I squealed with delight when I saw the noodles, causing StuKitty to run off just as he was calculating the proper angle at which to launch himself onto the second cupboard shelf.  I couldn't be bothered with his snark, though.  I had UDON!!!  Not that I wasn't happy to find the other items; they just didn't hold the immediate promise of a yummy new dish.  Panko I've played with many a time, so I stored that away for future recipes, and the baking powder was good for later use, too.  But the noodles... ohhh, those were going in my belly immediately! 

And so, the following soup came together quite beautifully.  I had random udon noodles, ridiculously cold temperatures to deal with (even though it's the middle of January), and a pesky sinus infection that will insist on making me sound like my very own orchestra wind section.  All three were perfect excuses to make a big batch of soup!  Santa's gifts of Grocery Outlet gift cards had allowed me to buy some frozen edamame, mushrooms, and even a giant red bell pepper, as well as a decent sized block of tofu; all things that would go quite well with my noodles.  Some homemade veggie stock brought down from the freezer, plenty of garlic & spices, and I was all set for a fabulous soup that would not only warm me up and fill me up, but would help relieve some of those awful sinus symptoms I'd been dealing with for days.

Just a couple of quick notes on this one: by all means, use fresh ginger if you have it!  They didn't have any at G.O. so I had to stick with ground ginger.  It works fine in a pinch, but freshly grated ginger can only make this soup better (and far more effective if you're using it for medicinal purposes).  You can certainly play around with the veggies in this one, but I like the way the colors & textures of the edamame, peppers and mushrooms play off of each other.  It makes this a very lovely soup to look at, and as I've mentioned before, part of "eating well" in my world is enjoying aesthetically pleasing food.  Lastly, if you're not a big fan of tofu, no worries!  Try some cubed chicken or a few shrimp instead.  And if you're looking to stick with a vegetarian soup sans tofu, the edamame still provides plenty of protein.

The best part about this soup?  Not only is it cheap and oh-so-delicious, it is also super quick & easy to make.  So if you're pressed for time after a long day at work, this would be a fabulous solution for a tasty, nutritious dinner.

Udon Noodles with Edamame, Peppers & Mushrooms in Ginger-Garlic Broth (makes 4-6 servings; total cost per serving: $1.40)

2 c vegetable stock or broth
4 c water
Large handful of udon noodles
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 T cooking oil
1-2 T low-sodium soy sauce
1 c frozen shelled edamame
3/4 c sliced mushrooms
3/4 c red bell pepper strips
1 c cubed extra firm tofu
1/4 c chopped scallions

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic & ginger, and cook for about 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and the garlic just begins to brown.  Next, add the vegetable stock and water, and bring to a boil.  Toss in the noodles and cook until the begin to soften but still have some of their crunch, about 5 minutes.  Add the edamame and cook for about a minute, then add the mushrooms, peppers and tofu.  Allow the soup to simmer for another 2-3 minutes, then add the soy sauce and stir until combined.

Serve generous portions of soup in bowls or soup mugs, top with fresh scallions, grab those chopsticks, and enjoy!


  1. I don't think I like tofu, but I think I could in a dish like this! Looks wonderful.

  2. I feel like I could live off of soups like this. I've always loved big fat udon noodles since I was a kid, and its great to see new (to me) ingredients and old stand-bys in this recipe.

  3. Thank you! I made this tonight and it got thumbs up from everyone, even the finicky 8 year old!

  4. What section of the grocery store would I find Udon noodles? And by the way, love your new pic!!!!

  5. Thanks, everyone! Glad you're enjoying the sound - or in Kim's case, the taste - of this recipe! :)

    @Kay - you should be able to find udon noodles in the Asian foods aisle of any regular grocery store, but if you really want to save some money and get better product, try going to your local Asian market. You'll find their prices are lower & the selection on this fun stuff a lot better!

  6. I've had a major craving for udon noodles lately. It's funny because I didn't like them when I was a kid and now I can't get enough. Great way to use your discovered stash. Looks very comforting and delicious.

  7. Kim: would this be freezable in individual portions? It sounds MARVELLOUS but I don't think I want to eat it four meals in a row. Comment?

  8. This looks amazing! (AND I love how inexpensive it is to make!)

  9. @girlThang: I'd say just cut the recipe in half if you don't want to eat so much of it. It's more of a "serve and eat immediately" kind of thing. The noodles might end up a bit soggy if frozen & reheated, and that's never fun!

  10. I made this tonight, and the whole family (of 5 - ages from 16 months to 37) loved it. I used 2 chicken breasts, trimmed, cubed, and marinated in sesame oil and soy sauce instead of tofu. I served it with Sriracha sauce at the table for those of us who like heat. Fabulous, thanks for sharing.

  11. @GirlThang - You can make the rest of the soup as described, and you can buy pre-cooked Udon noodles in individual servings (they sell them in big packages at Costco), and you can just add the noodles when you defrost the rest. The whole thing is so easy though, that even with small twins and a Kindergartener underfoot I was able to prep it very quickly.

  12. Thanks for inviting us along through your cleaning romp - great fun! The dish looks and sounds great. Another testament to the best things coming out of surprise ingredients from the back row of a kitchen cabinet. Cheers!

  13. Could you suggest a decent vegetarian alternative to the tofu? I hate tofu no matter how I cook. My brain is dead and cannot think of any alternatives. I guess it could be made just plain, but it would nice to have a protein in there.

  14. Udon is one of my fav cold weather dishes. Nabeyaki udon with bits of fish cake,tofu, scallions, tempura, and a raw egg which poaches nicely in the broth (any kind prob fine) is brought to the table in a bowl with lid: sooooo hot you must wait to drink it in. I sprinkle red chili flakes liberally on it, sip the broth, then attack all the bits/parts you add. The Rickshaw downtown on 9th or 10th near the freeway had a to die for udon for $5.00. Here in the suburbs they want over $14, not worth it so will do it myself. Thanks for your inspiration. Take care of yourself and feel better soon. wendy aka pc

  15. Chin Chin Chu--almost anything protein source you like can work: my fav is an egg poached in the broth, or an egg and an extra white--broth becomes quite rich, and, as long as you aren't going for authentic critiques, it's a "kitchen sink/refrig" dish with whatever you have on hand and want to try.

  16. @Chin: As I mentioned in the last paragraph of the post, the edamame will actually provide enough protein w/o the tofu. It may not seem like it, but that little legume is just as packed with protein as its curd cousin! P's suggestions work well, too.

  17. Thanks p and Kim for the response. I just might try the egg, or eat it plain as a side. Unfortunately I cannot eat the edamame, and I probably should have mentioned it. the last 2 times I have had it I broke out in hives and felt odd, so I had to benadryl it up. So I steer clear now. But the egg could work.



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