On days I miss Japan.

Nabeyaki udonI’ve been missing Japan a lot lately, especially with me going into cute little department and convenience stores like Daiso and Yoko Yaya. But one of the little things that I miss the most is 7-11. No, seriously. 7-11 in Asia (I speak for Taipei and Japan) are 10x better than the ones we have here in North America. There, you can get a cute little bento box, or just over $5. Or my personal favourite, various onigiri, for $2! They also featured hot items like baos, karaage, and korokke or pre-made entrees like oyakodon, mentaiko pasta, or nabeyaki udon which is what I will be making today.

Nabayaki udon is the traditional Japanese udon noodle soup. It is usually prepared with thick and chewy udon noodles, dashi stock, prawn tempura, fish cake, soft-boiled or poached egg, a green vegetable (spinach, broccoli, bok choy) and seasoned with togarashi spice. Besides curry rice, it is the ultimate comfort food. And on a cold day like today, my belly is practically screaming, “Soup! Noodles!”. I don’t know — maybe it’s an Asian thing.

It’s fairly simple and quick to prepare and great for a weeknight meal. Since I’m not a fan of deep frying, I’m skipping out on tempura. And the fish cakes…sorry. I’m eating it so I’ll be putting what I like in it. And you should do the same! I suggest maybe adding some broccoli, enoki mushrooms, and carrots for texture and colour to the dish. Maybe some bonito and panko flakes on top as well before serving. Trust me, this dish will be slurped up in seconds.
Nabeyaki udon Nabeyaki udon Nabeyaki udon Nabeyaki udon Nabeyaki udonNabeyaki udon

What you’ll need:
– 2 packages udon noodles
– 6 cups dashi stock (or use leftover kabocha simmering liquid and 4 cups dashi)
– 2 tsps mirin
– 1 tsp soy sauce
– 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced into 1/2″ pieces (optional: marinated in ajitsuke tamago liquid; omit mirin and soy if using)
– 8 baby bok choys, washed with ends chopped off
– 3 pkgs udon noodles
– Togarashi spice (optional)
Ajitsuke tamago (optional)

What you’ll need to do:
1. In a medium-large pot, bring your dashi, soy and mirin to a boil.
2. Add your chicken and bok choy and bring the heat down to a simmer. You may add your udon noodles directly to the pot but if you’re making this hoping for there to be leftovers, I’d highly suggest keeping the broth and udon separate to avoid the noodles from getting soggy.
3. If you didn’t add the udon, prepare your noodles in a separate pot and boil until it is fully cooked, about 3 minutes.
4. Serve in bowls with ajitsuke tamago and togarashi spice. Serves 6.

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