Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Instant" Japanese Noodles

When I was growing up, one of my favourite foods was instant noodles from a red and white package. In university it was a staple until I started working in an organic grocery store. Then I started looking at labels, checking ingredients and learning why organic food was better (and tasting the difference!) Now I don't think I could stomach a bowl of instant noodles. I would never, ever buy them for my family but still crave the convenience of an "instant" noodle.

I recently discovered a variety of organic dried Japanese-style noodles called Hakubaku. Yes, they are imported from Australia (which isn't the greatest, but at least it isn't China) but they are organic, fast and the varieties that I have bought so far have no salt added. They cook in just a couple minutes which makes them super convenient. I'm sure there are many other varieties of noodles that are similar- so try this recipe with any other udon or ramen noodle.

This udon noodle soup recipe was inspired by a simple (and kid-friendly) recipe on the Hakubaku website, which has amazing ideas for Japanese-style noodles.,com_ricettario/Itemid,97/

"Instant" Japanese Noodles
Serves 4
You can use any variety of Japanese-style noodle for this soup- but my family prefers the thick, white noodles called udon. This is a one-pot soup and then you season each bowl individually which is great when you have a family with different tastes. Serve this soup with a side of edamame or sauteed tofu for a well-rounded meal.

6 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or bouillon) or salted water
1- package dried Japanese-style noodles, like udon or ramen (approx. 296 g)
1 onion, cut in half and sliced into thin slices
2 carrots, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 bunch of spinach, chopped (or baby spinach or another green: broccoli, bok choy, etc.)
sesame oil
soy sauce (I prefer organic)
ground pepper

Optional: sliced green onions
1. Bring broth or salted water to a boil.
2. Add noodles and onion and cook for approximately 2 minutes (or half the recommended noodle cooking time).
3. Add carrots (or heartier greens like broccoli) and cook for the remaining 2 minutes (or the remaining cooking time). Add spinach in the last 30 seconds.
4. In each bowl, measure approximately 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and 2 teaspoons soy sauce. Add ground pepper if desired. Spoon noodles into bowl and top with at least a cup of hot broth. Garnish with green onions if desired.

Note: This is a "simple" recipe and it is meant to be so- try experimenting with those things you like- a little grated ginger, sliced garlic, some chilies, etc.