I have really been into making Asian foods lately—and who could blame me— they are so good! Since it’s been cold out, I have been turning to lots of soups from all over Asia to warm me up such as Chinese Wonton Soup, Korean Kimchi Jiggae and now this fantastic Japanese recipe for Chicken Udon Noodle Soup.
This soup combines basic ingredients like chicken thighs, spinach, scallions, and egg with some of my favourite Asian ingredients. These include shimeji mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, sesame seeds, udon noodles, nori snacks, and kombu (also known as seaweed). If you are unfamiliar with these types of Asian mushrooms that I just referred to, check out my last post “What’s In Season- Mushrooms” for the low-down.
Asian ingredients all in one warming, healthy bowl!
I have only recently began experimenting with more Asian ingredients after moving to Vancouver Island and finding a large gap in the quantity and variety of Asian cuisine available. I came from Vancouver, so there is no comparison with what Vancouver offers! While there are a few good Asian restaurants here, I don’t eat out too often since it can get expensive pretty quick. Plus, I love experimenting with new ingredients and learning new skills and techniques in the kitchen, so why not make things from scratch?
An Asian Twist
This Chicken Udon Noodle Soup was inspired by classic Chicken Noodle Soup, but I just put an Asian twist on it! For the broth, I simmered dried kombu (seaweed), soy sauce, and dried shiitake mushrooms in a basic chicken broth. The seaweed gives the soup base a slight fishy/ocean taste while also imparting lots of vitamins and minerals into the soup. I used store-bought udon noodles to add some carby and filling substance to the soup as well. Plus, you have to have udon noodles in udon noodle soup! Fresh shimeji and enoki mushrooms, blanched spinach and fresh scallions are the main vegetables in this soup, and are all actually pretty seasonal! Chicken thighs, fried chicken skin (drool!), a 6-minute egg, and some black and white sesame seeds are also added for some extra protein and fat. When all these ingredients are combined, they provide a well-rounded and healthy meal!
That chicken skin though! <3
Prepare, prepare , prepare!
The trick to pulling this soup off is to get all the garnishes prepared in advance, just like in any Japanese udon shop. This way you aren’t doing 20 things at once! I blanch and chill the spinach, cook and peel the egg, chop the scallions, and fry the chicken thighs and chicken skin so that they are ready to add right on top of the soup when I am ready. I also cook the udon noodles separately and have those in the bottom of the bowl prior to ladling the broth and mushrooms over top. You don’t have to worry about these ingredients getting cold as the hot broth will instantly warm everything up once it’s in the bowl!
If you enjoy this recipe (and Asian recipes in general) be sure to follow my blog or my Instagram! Also, get ready for lots of Chinese New Year recipes coming very soon!
For the full recipe for my Chicken Udon Noodle Soup, click here!