Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Simple and Delicious Udon

Even in the heat of summer, udon is a welcome and often refreshing treat. The Japanese belief is that if it is hot, eat something that is also will stimulate sweating and cool you off! So udon is eaten throughout the year.

This is a simple recipe that can be customised to your liking. Give it a try! You'll find its taste and quality is comparable to a noodle shop's.

Simple Udon


futomaru udon (any udon will do, this is just a favourite)
satoimo noodles (I use Malony or マロニー)
kelp (also called konbu)
sesame oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp mirin
3 cloves of garlic, or to taste
ginger, to taste
thin-sliced lotus root (optional)

1) Use kitchen scissors to cut a piece of kelp that is about 2"x2" at least, or larger to your preference. Cut it into medium-sized strips and place it in a bowl.

2) Heat as much water as you want broth for your udon. Once it boils, take it off heat and pour it over the kelp. Cover the bowl and let it sit for at least five minutes.

3) Heat a small amount of sesame oil (about 1 tsp) in a saucepan. Peel the garlic cloves and slice them into smaller pieces, and add the garlic and ginger to the sesame oil. Saute until it is aromatic, probably about 30 seconds or so.

4) Add the kelp and broth to the saucepan, then add soy sauce and mirin. If you are using lotus root, add it now. Turn to medium heat, to cook.

5) Prepare the futomaru udon by boiling a pot of water and adding the noodles to the boiling water. Keep it cooking steadily for around 10 minutes.

6) About 3-5 minutes before the futomaru udon is ready, add the satoimo noodles to the cooking broth. This will make them ready by the time your udon is.

7) Remove the futomaru udon from water and place them in your bowl. Then pour the contents of the broth over it. You can serve with shichimi togarashi or any topping.

Tips and Such

- If you don't have mirin, simply add some sake and a pinch of sugar to the broth. The sweetness of mirin doesn't really feature in the finished dish, but it does add a contrast that brings out the robust tones of the soy sauce better than if it were just alone.

This is a simple and delicious dish! Everybody loves a good udon. It only takes a few minutes to make, and it is so comforting and yummy. You will feel better after tasting this traditional style udon!

};) Dhiar <3

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Best Sauerkraut Veggie Dogs Ever

Jager has been making himself comfortable, and it's been an exciting challenge to provide him with delicious vegetarian foods in the style of his homeland. So today I tried a very successful experiment: wieners with sauerkraut.

As some of you may know, not all vegetarian wieners are created equal. Unfortunately there are some that aren't as tasty as others. But this recipe accounts for that, in case you can only put hands on veggie dogs that are okay but not great.

For especially delicious vegetarian wieners, I recommend Veggie Patch or Tofurky. But this recipe is good no matter what kind of hot dogs you use. You may want to keep your Veggie Patch or Tofurky wieners to eat with minimal condiments, and use your less favourite ones for this recipe.

Best Sauerkraut Veggie Dogs Ever


2 vegetarian hot dogs
2 buns
1 can sauerkraut (I like Bavarian-style)
1 tbsp Bavarian mustard (see Tips and Such if you don't have this)
1 tbsp instant mushroom stock
dash salt
black pepper, to taste
Hungarian paprika, to taste (optional)

1) Drain the sauerkraut. Rinse it if you find canned sauerkraut too acidic and strong. If you aren't going to prepare the entire can's contents, put the rest in a container and refrigerate.

2) Dilute 1 tbsp Bavarian mustard in enough water to cover the bottom of a small frypan. Place the wieners in the frypan with the diluted mustard solution and roll to cover.

3) Heat over medium to medium-high heat and continue to roll them so they cook evenly, until tender and until the liquid has all cooked off.

4) Place the sauerkraut in a small saucepan and add the mushroom stock powder, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Add a little water and mix thoroughly. If you prefer, instead of water, you can add a splash of beer instead. Or you can even just substitute beer for the mushroom stock entirely.

5) Cook sauerkraut over medium heat until most of the liquid has cooked off.

6) Serve on sturdy buns!

Tips and Such

- Use Bavarian mustard for the best taste. Bavarian mustard is sweet, which balances the sour and salty tastes of the sauerkraut in this recipe. It also gives a gentle tangy quality to the hot dogs, which is something very valuable if they are less than delicious on their own. If you don't have access to Bavarian mustard, use whatever mustard you can find and add a pinch of sugar (like Florida Crystals) and a dash or two of tarragon.

- Make sure the liquid is cooked out of both items so that when you add it, it doesn't make the bun soggy. Soggy buns mean messy hands, because buns just fall apart when they get soggy. I think that is the most absolutely perverted I have ever sounded in my life while trying to give genuine advice.

Quick, a distraction!

This is a quick, easy preparation which can add taste to even the most lacking of veggie dogs! Give it a try, and I feel certain that you won't be disappointed.

Happy Wieners to You!

};) Dhiar <3