Kitchen Sink Udon Noodle Soup
Last night I came home from work with every intention of indulging in my stress eating desires. Next door to our place is an amazing little VPN certified Neapolitan pizzeria, Pizzeria Pulcinella’s! I dream about it often. When I crave pizza, its almost always of the quick, hot, wood fired oven Neapolitan variety, and Pulcinella’s is both delicious and convenient. It really is a terrible thing to live this close to something this addicting. But our visits are few and far between, and that is probably for the best. It certainly makes each trip special and worth while.
So now I am home and not in the best mood. Work this week was ugly, more turnover in upper management means that my immediate future is about to become increasingly stressful. With the fear of the unknown on the horizon, all I wanted was the comfort of something I haven’t had in months, some tasty Neapolitan pizza.
I had crafted in great detail in my head, my pizza sell job to Katie for when she got home. I had plans for every possible rebuttal. I was going to win the dinner menu planning tonight.
When she arrived, rain soaked from our unfortunate return of Spring showers, I immediately noticed the pouty lip and puppy dog eyes. It all happened so fast, but I swore I planned for this, didn’t I? In the most disgustingly sweetest way possible, she asked if we could eat some udon soup and watch The Office on Netflix. All my planning had led to this moment, and re-actively I disobeyed my own preparation and said “That sounds perfect!”
Fail…or was it. Before I knew it, my creative juices were flowing and I had completely forgotten about my beloved Pulcinella’s Pizzeria.
*Scan the fridge, scan the cupboard.*
It appears we have enough to cobble together something delicious. Night, still salvaged…phew.
Turns out, it was better than salvaged. With the rainy weather, and the luck of the leftovers, the soup that I begrudgingly threw the kitchen sink into, turned out to be fantastic. I made some minor modification from my last few udon noodle soups, and the results were better than ever before. One surprise ingredient I threw in because, well, I had a bunch of it just sitting in the fridge and not a lot of recipes on the horizon that would call for it. It turned out to be the big hit of the bowl. Kaffir Lime Leaf! If you’ve never had it, imagine a smooth, almost oily leaf that just reaks of lime. I used it in a few curry dishes recently and it’s amazing that one little leaf can impart that much delicious limey flavor.
There a very few dishes, at least in my mind, that could not be helped by the addition of an egg. In this case, a luscious poached egg. The richness of the yolk always seems to bring a dish together the way few other ingredients can. This soup, is no different.
Another new addition to my udon arsenal is chili oil, similar to the ones used in Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. Lately I have
noticed that I am venturing into new grounds with my hot sauce choices, eschewing my usual Sriracha for more traditional, or complimentary flavors and styles. Never thought I would see the day, but in this case, the chili oil, studded with lots of little chili flakes, was the perfect compliment of heat and flavor to this little bowl of soup.
So there you have it, I may have lost my battle, but the lady managed to still pick a winner of a meal. A perfect compliment to these long rainy days ahead of us.
Enjoy my Kitchen Sink Udon Noodle Soup!
- 3 oz udon noodles
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1/2 cup of spinach
- 1 kaffir lime leaf
- 1/2 sliced mushrooms
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 cube of fresh ginger (peeled 1″ square piece)
- 2 crushed cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp chili oil
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
Udon Soup Directions:
- In a 2 quart saucepan, bring the sesame oil up to a shimmer on medium high heat. Toss in cube of ginger, and the two cloves of crushed (but still whole) garlic.
- After cooking for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, pour in the soy sauce, fish sauce and throw in the kaffir lime leaf. Stir for another minute.
- Next, pour in the chicken stock , sesame seeds, and mushrooms and bring to a simmer. Once brought to a simmer, place in the package of udon noodles and cook thoroughly at a low boil for approximately 10 minutes, or until noodles are fully cooked and slippery. Turn of the heat and portion out into your bowl(s), being careful not to include the garlic, ginger or lime leaf.
- Top each bowl of udon noodle soup with a pinch of chopped cilantro, a teaspoon or more of chili oil (to taste) fresh spinach (it will wilt gently in the heat of the soup) and one poached egg.
Poached Egg Directions:
- In a 2 quart saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a simmer. Stir in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
- Crack an egg into a bowl, once assured that the yolk has not broken and that no shells have dropped in, gently slide the raw egg into the slightly simmering water. There will be excess whites that float to the top and essentially separate from the poached egg party, and that’s okay, you didn’t want them to come anyways.
- Using a slotted spoon, gently lift the egg out of the water after the whites have set, but the yolk is still giggly and runny inside. Once ready, using the same slotted spoon, remove the poached egg and set on a dry paper towel for the white to continue to set and the egg to dry a bit after its bath.
- When the rest of the udon noodle soup is ready, place the egg on top and dig in. The yolk will add a rich creamy element to the fresh bright broth.