I’m a bit late in sharing this challenge with you, since I made it about two weeks ago. The challenge was to make an Asian-style noodle dish that I hadn’t tried before. I had some udon noodles in the pantry, so I started from there. After doing some reading on Wikipedia, I decided to make yaki udon, which is a stir-fried, Japanese noodle dish.
To tell you the truth, this wasn’t such a challenging dish, but I did learn something new. Usually, when I stir-fry, I cook the meat first, then I add the vegetables. Last, I might throw in some cooked noodles, or I’ll toss it all on top of cooked rice.
This time, though, I cooked the veggies first, while I let the meat marinate. Then I added the boiled noodles. This enable the vegetables to get browned and tender, and the noodles to also brown a little, since there was no liquid in the pan. When they were done, I removed them to a plate and cooked the meat. I tried not to disturb the meat other than turning it once, so it would develop a crunchy, brown crust. Finally, I added the marinade from the meat and stir-fried until the sauce had thickened. Last, the veggies and noodles went back in to get coated with the sauce.
I think this made a real difference in the quality of the stir-fry. Every ingredient shone, and nothing was over-cooked. Although the sauce was evenly distributed, it didn’t turn gloppy. All in all, it was delicious, and a truly simple dish to make.
You can substitute any thinly sliced meat here (I used chicken). Scallops or shrimp would also work. And of course, any vegetables that you have on hand can be added. I like to slice the veggies thinly and on the diagonal for a nicer presentation and faster cooking. It is also good to add something with crunch for a garnish. I used raw bean sprouts, which provided just the right finish.
Serves: 2-3 people
- ¼ lb. chicken or other meat, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1 tbsp. ponzu sauce
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds
- peanut oil
- 4 oz. udon noodles, cooked, drained and rinsed
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced diagonally
- 1 small red pepper, sliced thinly
- 8 spears asparagus, cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
- mung bean sprouts for garnish
- soy sauce to taste
1. Combine the meat with the mirin, ponzu sauce, flour, sesame oil and sesame seeds, and set aside to marinate.
2. Heat some peanut oil in a wok or skillet until very hot. Add the vegetables and stir-fry until they are crisp-tender and beginning to brown. Add the noodles and continue to stir-fry until the noodles are brown in places. Remove to a plate.
3. Add some more peanut oil to the pan and heat until very hot. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and add it to the pan. Let the chicken cook, turning once, until cooked through, browned and crusty.
4. Add the marinade and stir-fry the chicken quickly until the sauce thickens. Return the vegetables and noodles to the pan, and stir-fry until the well-mixed. Remove to a serving dish and top with the bean sprouts. Pass the soy sauce at the table.