We’re stuck in weather hell right now, smack dab in the shortest, coldest days of the year. So let’s take a trip down memory lane, back to the halcyon days of my youth…
When I was a little kid, family dinners were typically one of two varieties, awesomely American dishes or delicious, Austrian cuisine. While both are great, they tend toward the heavier side of eating. Cheeseburger casserole, beef goulash, grilled cheese, spaetzle and schnitzel – all winners, but all very similarly satisfying.
So when I was 10 or 11, we noticed that a new sushi restaurant had opened up in our town. We decided to check it out, and I came in with zero expectations…mostly because I was 10 and was barely a person at that point. But I rolled with it and shockingly tried some sushi rolls and yaki udon. While the sushi was great, for some reason yaki udon just holds a special place in my heart. Every time I go back to that restaurant, I always have to order some and bask in its noodley goodness.
Flash forward to today. If you live anywhere that isn’t Southern California, it’s probably been absurdly, obnoxiously cold the past couple of weeks. I was thinking of ways I could stick it to old man winter (technically old man end-of-fall, but whatever), and in a flash of nostalgia decided to cook up some piping hot yaki udon. I was in no mood to risk frostbite in search of bonito flakes or the proper color of miso paste, so I looked for something on the simpler side. And Voila! (or Dekiagari! if google isn’t messing with me) I found this gem of a recipe.
The best part of this recipe is just how easy and customizable it is. The sauce is pretty straightforward and devoid of any nonsense ingredients, and you just pick whichever vegetables you prefer. I went with carrots, snow peas, mushrooms and onions, but you can be the author of your own destiny! Once the veggies are good and sauteed, throw on your al dente udon noodles, stir in your sauce to let it thicken aaaaaaand Dekiagari!
Pitfalls: Overall this recipe is pretty fool proof, even for a negligent chef like me. If you plan on having the udon noodles sit in the sauce for a little, make sure to cook them a little less than al dente so they don’t overcook afterwards. Also, the udon noodles that I bought were reeeeaaaally salty just on their own. For me this is no problem at all, but you might want to taste them before boiling, and adjust salt levels in the water accordingly.
The Verdict: If you like the taste of soy sauce, you’ll love this recipe. And frankly if you don’t like the taste of soy sauce feel free to see yourself out. Saucy, noodly and just vegetably enough to pat myself on the back for eating it. You’re welcome body.
Check out the full recipe for detailed instructions, or you can be like me and quickly glance at them and stubbornly refuse to double-check..Two cups of soy sauce? Seems legit!
Not Chef Jared