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 Post subject: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:58 pm 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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I'd love to try my hand at making this dish some time this week but the internet is giving me SO much conflicting information as it is prone to do. Make the broth from kombu. No, use nori. Use shiitakes. No, use oyster mushrooms. Use regular old vegetable broth. Or miso. I guess it's the broth that's key here. We have a local restaurant that makes beautiful vegetarian broth for ramen and that's really what's most important to me. PPK, got any tips? Recipes?

ETA: Slow cookers?

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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:56 pm 
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I always have had soy sauce broth Udon. I really prefer the dark soy sauce kind but I keep forgetting to buy it and love the lighter way, too. I would always trust Just Hungry for this stuff: http://justhungry.com/basics-kaeshi-sob ... sauce-base

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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:02 am 
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Just go with whatever you like, and experiment! I like miso broths with dried mushrooms. Sake is good too. Lots of garlic isn't too traditional but I use it anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:40 am 
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You mentioned ramen, so I wanted to mention this recipe that I've used as a loose base a few times: http://mushroominfo.com/mushroomchannel ... terslunch/
(I've never used kombu, and am no expert on any of this).

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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:28 am 
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Not NOT A Furry
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From what I understand is that hot Udon and Soba soup bowls are made based on Japanese style dashi whereas Ramen is made from pork based broth which is then spiked with bonito flakes and the other usual umami suspects (I think this is because Ramen are of Chinese origin).

So, your soup base always needs to be some kind of dashi which you can then season with soy sauce or miso or whatever strikes your fancy. My favourite vegetarian dashi is one that uses both dried shiitake and kombu, I just put both into a pot and pour boiling water on top and let that sit for a couple of hours. Never cook dashi that contains kombu, it becomes gross and slimy! Using Nori for the broth sounds very weird to me and I can only imagine that this suggestion comes from someone who has no access to kombu.

When the dashi is done I usually add something salty, something sweet and something alcoholic for a nice and balanced flavour profile.
For the salty = Japanese soy sauce or miso (Tamari is usually not used for such cooking purposes)
For the sweet = sugar or Mirin. I prefer Mirin because it also adds some alcohol.
For the alcohol = Sake or Mirin. Most of the time I add Sake AND Mirin to a dish for rice wine goodness.
For a combination of those factors, you could of course just make that Justhungry recipe and add that to the dashi, which is basically just what Maki suggests in that post.

Now you have your broth to which you add the precooked and well rinsed noodles and then top with what you like.
Toppings I like are: the shiitake from making dashi, sliced thinly; reconstituted wakame; thinly sliced spring onions; nori in fine shreds, a few drops of roasted sesame oil; fried tofu, blanched soy bean sprouts.

When it comes to ramen, I have found the PERFECT soup base. If you make a simple seitan dough (just gluten and water), then panfry the raw dough until it is nicely browned and then cook this seitan, the cooking liquid will totally taste like pork. I think, browning of the seitan creates lots of free umami that goes into the broth when you cook it. A decent amount of fat is also important for the broth to taste authentic.


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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:31 am 
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Not NOT A Furry
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I should add that the method of frying and then cooking seitan dough comes from Miyoko Shinners Japanese cookbook. I was not a fan of the seitan that this method produced because using just gluten made it too gummy, but the coking broth was a revelation!


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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:28 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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i think the udon/soba broth, hot or cold, always has some sort of alcohol hit in it. Ramen is bones and such, mostly salty and umami but without the alcohol.
what i often do is throw dried shrooms in the broth, and then boil up (soaked) kombu as an inclusion in the soup. knots, if you can find them. it really just adds some extra umami and then you get to eat it later.
i agree with everything lily says, especially about nori having no place in broth. as a topping, sure.

if i remember right, Vcon has a udon type soup that has a really nice clear broth that's simple and yummy. i think there might be winter squash or something in there too.

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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:40 am 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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Lily wrote:
So, your soup base always needs to be some kind of dashi which you can then season with soy sauce or miso or whatever strikes your fancy. My favourite vegetarian dashi is one that uses both dried shiitake and kombu, I just put both into a pot and pour boiling water on top and let that sit for a couple of hours. Never cook dashi that contains kombu, it becomes gross and slimy! Using Nori for the broth sounds very weird to me and I can only imagine that this suggestion comes from someone who has no access to kombu.

When the dashi is done I usually add something salty, something sweet and something alcoholic for a nice and balanced flavour profile.
For the salty = Japanese soy sauce or miso (Tamari is usually not used for such cooking purposes)
For the sweet = sugar or Mirin. I prefer Mirin because it also adds some alcohol.
For the alcohol = Sake or Mirin. Most of the time I add Sake AND Mirin to a dish for rice wine goodness.
For a combination of those factors, you could of course just make that Justhungry recipe and add that to the dashi, which is basically just what Maki suggests in that post.

Now you have your broth to which you add the precooked and well rinsed noodles and then top with what you like.
Toppings I like are: the shiitake from making dashi, sliced thinly;

This sounds perfect. So do you discard the kombu used for making the dashi? Also, you said that you just pour the boiling water over the shiitakes and then use them sliced as a topping? In my experience w/ dried shiitakes (which is minimal) I've found that even if I simmer them for a while they are really tough and not very pleasant to eat. Nothing like the shiitakes I've had in restaurants.

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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:25 am 
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Yes, I discard the kombu most of the times although you can make things like tsukudani with it that can e.g. be stuffed into onigiri. But usually I am just too lazy for that.

Hmm, about the shiitake: the reconstituted shiitake are a lot firmer than fresh but for me usually soft enough to be eaten after they have been soaked thoroughly. Have you had this problem with different store bought batches? I really don't know why yours are so tough.... maybe those you have been served in restaurants have been fresh ones and you just don't like the dried kind? You could of course also discard the shiitake after making the dashi and just use other mushrooms that you like for the soup.


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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:39 pm 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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I've only ever bought dried shiitakes once, but they've been in my cabinet for a while so maybe I'll try a new brand and see if that works. Worst case scenario, I'll just discard 'em. Perhaps I'll pick up some fresh mushrooms as well just in case. My Asian market has awesome varieties. And cheap, too!

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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:40 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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what i do sometimes if the shrooms are old is soak overnight first, then cook dried shiitakes.
there are also crappy quality shiitakes (stems only) that are specifically for making broth, not for eating.

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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:38 am 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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You guys are the best! I ended up picking up whole, dried shiitakes (before I always used sliced) and I found them to be much better. In fact, it almost seemed like a completely different fungi! It was edible after making the dashi so I just sliced 'em and threw it in my bowl. The flavor was right, but I want a more potent broth next time. Already got the gears going, so experiments to come! I posted my results in food pron, too viewtopic.php?f=31&t=23917.

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 Post subject: Re: Udon Soup
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Mmm....I'm eating udon soup right now for lunch. It's the recipe from Chloe's Kitchen and calls for (fresh) shittake mushrooms, scallions, garlic, jalapeno, ginger, veg broth, cashews, cilantro and a sesame oil and vinegar finish. It's pretty basic and is definitely not as complex as some of the ones described here but I make it once a month and I make pretty much nothing once a month. But I love this stuff!

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