Nabeyaki Udon

In continuing with an effort to actually post some of our recent recipe additions, here’s a recipe for nabeyaki udon.   We originally found this recipe at Just One Cookbook, which is a fantastic blog of Japanese recipes. I’m going to present our version of the recipe here, with modifications we’ve had to make based on what we can get our hands on.  While you can find some of these ingredients in a well-stocked megamart, I would recommend you try out an Asian market, if you have one in your area.  We’re lucky enough to live close to our favorite Asian grocer, and we’ve made that a part of our shopping routine.

A note on the mushrooms: we can find fresh shiitake, but if you can’t then dried is great.  We just prefer the texture of the fresh, so we opt for that.  The shimeji mushrooms are small clusters of mushrooms that look kind of like enoki (they are really cute-you can see them on the top of the soup). If you can’t find them, standard buttons would work, but you do lose quite a bit of complexity and woodsiness (which is a word).

Also, this is supposed to be cooked in individual serving bowls, but we don’t have anything quite suitable, so I just make it in our enameled cast iron dutch oven.  The ending presentation isn’t quite as pretty as the nicely composed individual bowls, but needs must, and it’s still darned tasty.

Nabeyaki udon

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

  • 1 chicken thigh, diced
  • 4 fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 baby bok choy, blanched
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 package kamaboko fish cake (that’s the pink and white stuff in the picture)
  • 2 sticks imitation crab
  • 1/2 pack shimeji mushrooms, bottom 1/2″ trimmed
  • 3 scallions
  • 2 packages udon (we use the vac-packed shelf stable variety)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups dashi (3 cups water + 1 generous tsp hondashi granules)
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce

 

Method

Prepare dashi according to package instructions and put over medium heat in a large, heavy cooking vessel.  Add the mirin and soy.   Dice the chicken into 1/2 inch cubes, and add it to the pot, along with the sliced shiitake, and sliced carrot.  Bring to a bare simmer, and let the chicken get fully cooked.  Once the chicken is cooked, add the roughly chopped bok choy and scallions, along with the noodles. The udon will take a few minutes to relax and separate.  Once it has, go ahead and add a few 1/4″ slices of the kamaboko per person and set that on top of the soup, along with the imitation crab and shimeji.  Crack the eggs into the soup, then cover and allow to simmer gently until the eggs are cooked to your liking.  Dish soup into bowls and serve.

Traditionally, this is served with tempura shrimp, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble of frying something, it’s still delicious and easy without it.  This also scales wonderfully.  I made this for a kenjutsu group of 4, and the only modification to method was to cook the noodles in their own pot of broth, then combine everything in the bowls.

 

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