Udon with Shiitake Mushrooms and Kale in Miso Broth

I received Veganomicon: the Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero for Christmas this past year, and it has turned out to be the best present. I haven't had a single recipe disappoint me. In my opinion, it's as much of a go-to cookbook as the Betty Crocker Cookbook or Better Homes and Gardens cookbook...all of which are full of classical dishes.

I made Udon with Shiitake Mushrooms and Kale in Miso Broth tonight for dinner. It was my first time cooking with miso, a thick paste made from the firmentation of rice, barley, or soybeans with a particular fungus. It smells a little like yeast bread dough. I chose to use a light miso, which has a milder, less-salty flavor. The recipe says you can either use light or dark, with the preface that you might want to add more of the light since it's less pungent. I ended up using the amount called for in the recipe, despite the fact that it was a milder miso.

I would describe the final product as very comforting. The udon had a really gentle ginger-garlic flavor, and was slightly sweet from the onions and miso. The mushrooms added and earthiness while the kale added a little bitterness, so the overall flavor was very balanced. There wasn't a lot of broth, but what was there was relatively thick and rich. It was very unusual in my opinion to rinse the pasta with cold water after cooking it, but I suppose if you hadn't the starch left on the outside of the pasta would have absorbed all the broth. I was really pleased with this recipe.

The one qualm I have with this recipe is that it calls for 2 tsp of soy sauce, but the directions never tell you when to add it. Therefore, I guessed it would go in along with the miso, and added an "*" by the word to indicate my assumption. Whether or not it was supposed to go in that step or even at all, the recipe turned out great nonetheless.

One other change I have made was to reduce the oil from 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to 1 tsp of canola oil. I feel that canola is more heart-healthy, plus if you are using a non-stick skillet, you don't need that much oil. By reducing the oil, the recipe went from 366 calories (9 g fat, 1 g saturated) to 296 calories (2.2 g fat, 0 g saturated). Feel free to change it back to the original version if you wish.

Udon with Shiitake Mushrooms and Kale in Miso Broth

1/2 lb fresh or dried udon noodles
1 tsp canola oil
1 medium-sized red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp mirin (optional)
2 cups water
3 tbsp miso
4 cups chopped kale
2 tsp soy sauce, or to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the udon according to the package directions, about 10 minutes. When done, drain and rinse with cool water until ready to use.
2. Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and mushrooms in the oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and the onions are soften but still have some crunch. Add the garlic and ginger, and saute for another minute.
3. Add the mirin, water, *soy sauce, and miso and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the kale. Toss the mixture around with tongs until the kale has wilted. Add the noodles and use a pasta spoon to stir them into the broth for about 2 minutes.
4. Divide the udon and vegetables among the bowls and spoon some broth over each serving.

Servings per recipe: 4
Per serving:
Calories: 296
Fat: 2.2 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Sodium: 1357 mg
Carbohydrates: 59.4 g
Fiber: 5.7 g
Protein: 12.1 g

Labels: , , , , , ,