There is only one Asian supermarket near me (I miss you 99 Ranch Market!), so I go there for all of my specialty Asian food shopping. It’s been a little rainy and dreary lately (the last bit before it gets suuuper hot out), so some sort of soup sounded like a good idea before we swear off hot soup for a few months.
Udon Noodle Soup
I prepped all of the vegetables first, which took a bit of time because there were quite a few vegetables. I used dried mushrooms, so the first thing I did was re-hydrate them by immersing them in water until they were soft enough to cut (after removing the stems). I then minced the garlic and the ginger, separated the the baby bok choy leaves from each other, and chopped the scallions. I cheated a bit and used bamboo shoots that were already sliced.
After all the vegetables were prepped, I put the egg in boiling water until my egg timer indicated it was medium-boiled. I also heated a pan and sauteed the garlic and ginger, then added the mushrooms and bamboo shoots.
Now, about that pork belly! It is one of my favorite ingredients in Japanese noodle soups, including ramen. I found some at Trader Joe’s and bought it without a second thought without any real plans for it…until now!
While the vegetables were cooking, I sliced the pork belly in half and saved the other half for another time. I placed it skin down in a hot skillet and let the fat render out until the skin was brown and crispy. I removed it from the pan to cut into 1/4″-1/2″ inch thick slices, then put them back in the hot pan and browned the slices on all the other sides a little bit. Be careful with all this though – the rendered out fat starts to splatter!
Back to the vegetables now. After the mushrooms and bamboo shoots had cooked for a few minutes, I poured in the ponzu sauce (gives it a citrus-y flavor), soy sauce, and water. I threw in the baby bok choy, covered the pan, and let it simmer a bit for the baby bok choy to get a little softer. Then I added the udon noodles and recovered until the noodles had all unstuck from each other and had gotten soft.
Then it was time to assemble everything: the combined soup mixture went into the bowls first, then the pork belly and half an egg each. I garnished each bowl with the remaining scallions, quartered a big sheet of dried seaweed (just folded it and tore it with my hands) and put two quarters in each bowl.
Udon Noodle Soup
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. ginger, minced
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 3 oz. shiitake mushrooms
- 3 oz. bamboo shoots
- Optional: other vegetables (e.g., roasted corn, baby corn, other types of mushrooms, etc.) can be used instead of or in addition to vegetables listed above)
- 6 oz. pork belly (I use fully-cooked from Trader Joe’s)
- 8 oz. Udon noodles
- 5 oz. baby bok choy (~1.5 bunches)
- 0.25 cup ponzu sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 cups water
- 1 egg, soft- or medium-boiled
- 1 sheet seaweed, quartered or two sheets small seaweed sheets
- Boil egg until soft- to medium-boiled (depending on preference)
- Sauté garlic, ginger, and 0.75 portion (the white parts and most of the green parts) of the chopped scallions in olive oil until fragrant
- Add mushrooms and bamboo shoots and sauté
- Meanwhile, place pork belly skin side down and heat until it turns brown and fat renders out
- Add ponzu sauce, soy sauce, and water to vegetables and simmer for a few minutes
- Add baby bok choy and simmer for a few minutes
- Add udon noodles and simmer until noodles separate and become soft (only takes a few minutes)
- While soup is simmering, cut pork belly into 1/4″-1/2″ inch slices and return to pan to brown on all sides
- Split noodle soup into 2 bowls and top with pork belly, remaining scallions, half an egg each, and two quarter sheets of dried seaweed
- Nom nom nom!
Estimated nutritional information (per serving): 565 calories; 29.1g fat; 137.5mg cholesterol; 2,204mg sodium; 168.8mg potassium; 52.3g carbs; 25g protein