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Udon with Chicken and Vegetables

Like Japanese soba noodles, udon noodles are often served chilled in the summer and hot in the winter, and toppings are chosen to reflect the seasons. In this recipe, they are served hot in a mildly flavored broth and are topped with chicken and spinach. Just before serving, an egg is cracked over the noodles and is cooked gently by the hot broth ladled on top. If you prefer, you can poach the eggs individually and carefully transfer them to the bowls.

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 tsp. granulated dashi mixed with 1 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbs. mirin
  • 1 Tbs. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the broth:

  • 3/4 tsp. granulated dashi mixed with 6 cups hot water
  • 3 Tbs. dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. light soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. udon noodles or thick rice noodles
  • 3 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, stemmed, cut into 2-inch strips, immersed in boiling water for 1 minute, drained and squeezed dry
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 green onions, white and light green portions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 tsp. chili powder

Directions:

In a saucepan over high heat, combine the dashi, mirin, dark soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch and white pepper and bring to a boil. Add the chicken pieces, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is opaque throughout, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat.

To make the broth, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the dashi, dark and light soy sauces, vinegar, sugar and white pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the broth for 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the salt. Add the noodles and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the noodles and divide among warmed bowls. Top each serving with one-fourth each of the warm chicken mixture and the spinach. Crack an egg into each bowl and gently pour the hot broth over the top. Garnish with the green onions and a dusting of chili powder. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Asian Cooking, by Farina Kingsley & Thy Tran (Oxmoor House, 2009).