The Sensitive Kitchen

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Vegetarian Udon Soup

This traditional Japanese dish is enriched by the addition of an egg boiled until the yolk is mostly solid. When cut in half, most of the yolk stays with the egg, but a tiny bit stays behind to flavor the broth. If you are not vegetarian, you may include shreds or cubes of cooked chicken, another traditional addition.

4 eggs
1 Tbsp rice bran or other high-heat oil
1 c yellow onion, sliced, slices cut in thirds
12 ozs mushrooms (I used a mixture of cremini and shiitake)
10 c water
2-3 Tbsp broth concentrate (I used Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base), to taste
1 Tbsp grated ginger, more to taste
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce, to taste
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 c Napa cabbage, shredded
2 c carrots, sliced on bias
8 ozs prepared frozen potstickers or dumplings
1/2 c pre-roasted asparagus, cut in 1" pieces (optional)
12 ozs fresh udon noodles
3 scallions, sliced

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Cook eggs 6 minutes at a simmer. Remove from heat with slotted spoon; run under cold water until just cool enough to handle. Peel; place 1 egg in each of 4 soup bowls.

While eggs cook, heat large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add oil and onion; cook until onions are softened with brown edges. Push onions to side; add as many mushrooms as will fit in a single layer. Cook without stirring until mushrooms begin to give up their liquid, then stir and push to side of pot. Repeat until all mushrooms are cooked.

Add a bit of water to pot. Stir vigorously to bring up browned bits. Add remaining water, broth concentrate, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. When mixture comes to a boil, add cabbage, carrots, dumplings and udon noodles, according to the time it takes them to cook until just tender-crisp. Refer to dumpling and noodle packages for timings. (My soup was done in less than 5 minutes from this point.)

When soup is done, use slotted spoon and tongs to transfer dumplings and noodles to bowls with eggs. Ladle broth atop this. Sprinkle soup with scallions. Serve with chopsticks and a spoon; pass sesame oil, black pepper grinder, and Sriracha at the table.

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Sunday, February 09, 2014

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

This salsa is very easy to make, and puts anything from a jar to shame. My 10-year-old was eating it with a spoon!

1 1/2 lbs tomatillos, husked and washed
2 poblano chiles, cut in half, seeded
2 serrano chiles, cut in half, seeded
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp each cumin and salt
1/4 c white onion, minced
a few sprigs cilantro, stemmed, finely chopped

Broil tomatillos and chiles on a rimmed baking sheet until blotchy black and softening (they’ll be turning from lime green to olive), about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side. Cover side of sheet with chiles with a kitchen towel; let cool. Remove and discard blackened skins from chiles. Transfer remainder to a food processor, including juice on baking sheet. Process to a coarse puree. Scoop into a serving dish. Stir in onions and cilantro. Season to taste with cumin, salt and lime juice.

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