Asian Noodle Soup

SInce I'm in the food mood, I'll keep posting (to make up for those days I won't post at all). Lunch yesterday was pretty good by whippin'-up-lunch standards. I made an Asian Noodle Soup (inspired by Nigel Slater and his book Appetite).

This is one of those whadda yah got recipes, so adjust to your taste. I would also recommend upgrading the ingredients for a real meal.

To begin, we need ingredients. I'm going to adopt Slater's style of recipes and eschew listing exact amounts; it's very freeing

  • Chicken Stock - enough for two

  • Udon noodles - one bunch

  • A good bunch of basil, preferrably Thai (or use half as much if dried)

  • A teaspoon of sesame seeds

  • Splash of soy sauce

  • Freshly ground black and white pepper

  • Assorted mushrooms (I used frozen Asian mushrooms from Trader Joe's)

  • A good handful (a cupped hand plus a few) of prawns (works out to about 10 prawns)

  • Half an onion, sliced in slivers

  • teaspoon of sesame oil

Cook the noodles. When done, put in a colander and cool under cold water to stop the cooking process. Cover with cold water and set aside. Put the stock, soy sauce, basil and sesame seeds into a medium size stock pot and bring to a simmer. Add a little water if you're not going to cover the pot. While the broth is warming, shell and vein the shrimp.

Bring a saute pan up to temperature, and add the sesame oil. Spread the oil over the bottom of the pan by twisting the pan (be quick; don't let the pan cool too much). Add the onion and stir fry over medium-high to high heat until they singe but aren't cooked through. Add the shrimp and toss briefly (until they color). Increase the heat to high if you haven't already. Add the mushrooms. If you're using a lot of mushrooms, add them in two batches so the pan doesn't loose heat. Toss to coat and then add the peppers. Cook until almost done, about a minute.

Add everything in the saute pan to the simmering stock pot. Drain the noodles and them to the stock pot. Bring the pot back to a simmer, then reduce heat until the pot just bubbles slightly. Let this steep for about 5 minutes, if you want, or serve immediately. Give each person a spoon and a pair of chopsticks.

A variation on this I'd like to try (and haven't yet, so...) is to stir fry the udon slightly before adding it to the pot. I always like fried udon, and I think the extra flavor from a quick singe would add a lot.

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