Sunny Side Japanese Noodle Soup

Again with the Madhur. Why don’t all my fans stop asking for my recipes and just buy (or get from the library) this seminal, awesome cookbook? I keep digging into it and finding simple, delicious dishes.

That said, I often make changes or simplifications to the recipes, which is what I post here. Below is my version of Poached Eggs on Japanese Noodles (p. 523 of her book), a recipe my seven year old chose for me to cook today.

4 fresh eggs
8 asparagus spears
12 medium white mushrooms
2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
8 cups stock (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
4 – 6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup sake (or dry white wine)
14 ounces udon noodles
8 tender green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut on a slight diagonal into thin ovals
black sesame seeds
fresh ground pink peppercorn

Crack the eggs carefully into a bowl and set aside. Cut off the bottom 1/3 of the asparagus, then peel the bottom half of the remaining stalk. Wash the asparagus spears and cut them into 2″ pieces. Place them in a bowl of cold water; set aside.

Cook the udon according to directions (if the udon is fresh this often means a gentle boil for just a few minutes). Drain and rinse, tossing with a bit of oil.

Wash the mushrooms and blot dry with a cloth. Halve them lengthwise through the stem. Place the oil in a medium stockpan and set it to high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and stir for a minute (this should partially carmalize them). Turn off the heat, then add 2 tablespoons of the stock, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and the sesame oil. Cover and turn the heat up to a gentle simmer for five minutes. When finished, lift the mushrooms out using a slotted spoon and place in a warm (170 or so) oven.

To the remaining stock add the sake or wine, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for one minute. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding more soy sauce or sugar if desired. Simmer three more minutes and add the carrots, green beans, and asparagus. Set to a low simmer and time about seven minutes or until desired tenderness.

While the veggies cook, poach the eggs. Take a 9″ cast iron skillet and add about an inch of water and a splash of oil. Heat until it’s at an active simmer, and carefully pour the bowl of eggs. The eggs should start to curdle and poach in the water. Cover if desired, making sure the boil does not get too active. Depending on how well you like your eggs done (we like the whites firm and the yolks still a bit soft), remove the pan from heat when they are finished.

Set out 4 large bowls and add noodles, then the stock and veggies. Top with mushrooms, one egg, and garnish with pink peppercorn and black sesame seeds. Delicious!

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