The essence of udon soup is a delicately flavoured dashi broth with chewy, slippery noodles.
- 2 spring onions
- 200 g pork belly
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 cm piece ginger, grated
- 125 ml (½ cup) soy sauce
- 125 ml (½ cup) mirin
- 60 ml (¼ cup) sake
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 8 cm piece kombu
- 1 litre (4 cups) water
- 3 cups bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
- 200 g packet good-quality dried udon noodles
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 quantity dashi stock (see above)
- 2 tbsp soy
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 1¼ tsp salt
- 1 dash sake
- 1 bunch bok choy or pak choy, chopped into 5 cm pieces
- 1 handful bean sprouts, top and tailed
- 1 sheet toasted nori, cut into 4 squares
- 2 spring onions
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cut a 10 cm length from the end of each spring onion, cut into julienne and place in a bowl of iced water. Set aside for garnishing.
Thinly slice the remaining spring onion into rounds.
Place the pork belly in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Scoop off any scum that forms on the surface. Remove pork, rinse under running water and pat dry with paper towel. Add pork to fresh water, bring to the boil and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove from water and pat dry. Cut pork into thick slices.
Combine the soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, garlic, ginger and spring onion in a saucepan. Add the pork and simmer until the liquid has reduced and pork is sticky and glossy. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the dashi stock, wipe the kombu with a damp cloth or paper towel, then cut slits (at about 2 cm intervals) along the kombu. Put the kombu and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and remove the kombu.
Add the bonito flakes, bring back to the boil and simmer for about 30 seconds, then take it off the heat and stand for about 10 minutes or until the bonito sinks to the bottom. Strain through a fine sieve (or a sieve lined with paper towels or muslin). Press down on solids to extract all the liquid.
For the soup, bring a pot of water to the boil, add the udon noodles and bring back to the boil for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water. Distribute the noodles between 2 serving bowls.
Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Pierce the base of the egg with an egg piercer or small pin, add egg to water and cook for 61/2 minutes, stirring regulary. Remove from the pot and plunge into cold water. Peel the egg and cut in half. Set aside.
Bring the dashi stock to the boil in a large saucepan, reduce to a simmer, add soy, mirin, sake, sugar and salt to taste. Stir and taste the broth – add extra seasoning if needed. Simmer over a low heat.
Add the bok choy to the to dashi and simmer for 5 minutes.
To serve, pour dashi mixture over the udon. Arrange half an egg, the bean sprouts, nori and drained spring onion julienne on top.
• Kombu and katsuobushi are available from Japanese grocers.
This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.
This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.