I love diversity and the excitement of different cultures and cuisines, nothing more thrilling then sitting at the bar in an Omakase Restaurant, the sushi chef observing carefully every bite you take, reading your mind and checking if you deserve another one of his delicate creations. The moment he flings that giant mussle on the wooden surface of his counter top where it opens up for just a moment before nature forces it to roll up again leaving me terrified, is this thing still alive?
Have you ever eaten a mussle the size of a childs head strong enough to do this trick, yet it melts like sweet bread on your tongue? The Japanese cuisine is full of wonders and intricate love for detail and lets not forget the many years it takes to master the art of preparing sushi. I have attended a few classes and consider it an artform. I rather go out for dinner than to try to prepare nigiri or an inside out roll. Once you have tasted a piece prepared by a master you cannot delight in supermarket style sushi - sorry!
So in order to honor my soup fling I made an attempt to serve my dear meat-loving male family members this delicious light soup inspired by an article in the New York Times.
The Soup Kitchens are Back !
Served in a bowl topped with duck, beef or chicken they make a great lunch easy to prepare if you allow yourself to experiment.
Preparation time 20 min
Marinating and hydrating up to 1 hour
2 g Konbu algea
or 32g Japanese soup stock (contains Konbudashi)
8 cups water
4 chicken breasts, marinated in teriyaki sauce
2 cup shiitake mushrooms
1 cup Asian mushrooms
4 baby bok choy, cut in half or fresh spinach optional
3 packages of fresh udon noodles*
1 cup sliced green onions
fresh chili, soy sauce, Mirin sauce
This is a quick lunch recipe and a light and healthy one too.
1. The chicken breasts can be marinated ahead of time for at least ½ hour or over night.
2 a. The dry Konbu algea should be hydrated in the water for 1 hour then bring the water slowly to boil.
Before the water bubbles remove the Konbu.
2 b. In case you use the Konbudashi soup stock dissolve the powder in the water and bring slowly to boil, with the chicken breast in it, cook for 15 minutes. Please remember to use the chicken breast at room temperature; otherwise the meat becomes quite chewy. For soft chicken meat, add the breasts from the beginning and do not boil the water. Add the Mirin and the soy sauce and season to taste.
3. After 10 minutes add the shiitake mushrooms, Asian mushrooms and the baby bok choy. The spinach can be added when arranging everything in the bowl! It does not need cooking!
4. In the meantime warm the udon noodles as directed on the package. Mine needed 5 minutes in salted hot water.
Share the drained noodles among your 8 cups slice the chicken breasts and add it to the bowl. Add the mushrooms, the vegetables and the freshly cut spring onions .
*Udon noodles are usually made of wheat.