What do you do when a craving hits but you don’t have the ingredients? Work with what you have and get creative! I have been craving a good bowl of udon, but I lacked many of the traditional ingredients and wanted to avoid going out to the store. A traditional udon soup includes a dashi broth made with kombu (dried kelp) as well as katsuobushi (dried fermented fish flakes). Both of these ingredients contribute to the savory umami flavor that makes you want to drink every last drop of a good udon broth. Since I don’t have these traditional ingredients, I decided to give a tea broth a try, and used an intensely roasty oolong tea from Taiwan, Wood Dragon. I was pleasantly surprised by the end result and it succeeded to give the broth an earthy, maple, woody, savory depth of flavor.
If you are interested in trying out this recipe, here is what I came up with, however, feel free to substitute for any other ingredients you may have at home! If you have Mirin, a sweet Japanese rice wine, or Sake, use those instead of a white cooking wine for a more traditional flavor profile.
Prepare the night before:
Wood Dragon Concentrate:
Steep two heaping tbsp of Wood Dragon tea in 1 cup of water at 195 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes.
Marinated Soft Boiled Eggs:
1 T sugar
2-3 T white cooking wine
2 T soy sauce
3 T Wood Dragon concentrate
1 T water
In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, soy sauce, wine, tea concentrate and water. Adjust flavors as desired, you can always dilute with more water. Simmer the eggs for 6-7 minutes, place in an ice bath, and peel. Submerge the eggs overnight in the tea marinade, until the outside of the egg is stained a rich brown color.
3 large carrots
1 large onion with skin
½ c mushrooms
Wood Dragon Tea
Wash vegetables. Chop carrots into thirds and onion into quarters. Add in some of the largest stems from the Wood Dragon tea. Cover vegetables with water, about 5 cups. Let simmer in a large pot for an hour. Then strain and save vegetable broth.
Vegetable Broth Sauce:
1 T olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
2 T finely diced onion or shallot
2 t sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
3 T white cooking wine, Mirin, or Sake
I T sugar (omit if using sweeter wine)
2 t ginger powder (or fresh ginger if you have it! I didn't.)
Wood Dragon concentrate
Add olive oil to a small saucepan on low heat. Add onion or shallot, then garlic and ginger. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Once golden, deglaze the pan with wine. Let simmer on medium high heat until reduced. Then add sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and the rest of your Wood Dragon concentrate. Simmer on low for 2-3 minutes until flavors are well combined. You may add some salt or more soy sauce to taste, however the noodles will be quite salty so I skipped any extra salt.
2 large carrots, julienned
1 small head of broccoli, cut into large florets
1 c of mushrooms
Feel free to use whatever produce you have on hand. A variety of mushrooms, ramps, leeks, scallions, bok choy, or baby corn would all work great. Blanch the carrots and broccoli in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. I blanched mine separately so I could leave the carrots out of my broth at the end, making them easier to plate and preserving the right amount of texture I desired. Set aside.
This was my first attempt at making noodles from scratch, and by no means did they turn out perfect, so I will link you to the resources I used to make mine. It was a fun process that involved stepping on my dough!
I made two of the two serving dough balls, following measurements suggested in the Just One Cookbook recipe, and put each dough ball in a separate plastic bag so the dough had enough space to spread out while being stepped on.
2 servings = 200 grams of all-purpose flour + 100 grams of salted water (10 grams of salt + 90 grams of water)
For the most accuracy, use a kitchen scale rather than measure in cups or tablespoons.
Boil udon noodles for 7-10 minutes, until desired chewiness. Rinse in cold water, drain, and set aside.
Combine vegetable broth and sauce, simmer on medium heat until flavors are well combined.
Add blanched broccoli and raw mushrooms, simmer on low for 3 minutes, or until vegetables are desired texture. I like mine lightly cooked. Serve and Enjoy!