Category Archives: Asian Fusion

Udon Noodles in Broth with Enoki Mushrooms and Vegetables


A flavorful, satisfying hot, slurping noodle-soup. Best to cook the noodles while prepping all the ingredients so that everything is ready to go since the vegetables cook quickly. The ingredient list and directions may look more daunting than the reality. This is basically a quick stir fry served in a broth with noodles. The jalapeno adds a nice kick.

Serves 2.

-2 bundles udon noodles, cooked
-1 teaspoon grape seed or vegetable oil
-1 heaping teaspoon powdered ginger
-1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
-1 carrot, sliced
-1/2 red or yellow pepper, sliced in 1 inch pieces
-1 small or 1/2 large jalapeno, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
-1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
-1 small bunch beet greens (or chard), cleaned and chopped into 1 inch pieces
-1 bunch enoki mushrooms, separated (or handful of sliced white mushrooms)
-1 handful green beans, cut into 1/2-1 inch pieces
-1-2 splashes Mirin
-1 quart homemade vegetable stock
-1 Tablespoon Shoyu (or soy sauce)
-1 Tablespoon Ponzu (if you have some on hand)
-salt and pepper
-sprig of fresh basil

1. Boil water in large pot and cook udon noodles according to package directions. Rinse cooked udon thoroughly with cold water and set aside.
2. Separately, boil some water in a kettle and pour hot water into two serving bowls to heat. (optional)
3. Heat oil in large saute pan. When it starts to sizzle slightly, add the powdered ginger and stir it into the oil.
4. Add the chopped onion and carrots and cook over medium heat stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the carrot is softening.
5. Add the red pepper and saute a couple minutes until starting to soften.
6. Stir in the jalapeno and garlic and cook briefly (30 seconds or so). Add a splash or two of mirin and cook down in a minute or two.
7. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the zucchini, beet greens, mushrooms and beans. Stir in the Shoyu and Ponzu, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked.

8. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a bit of salt and pepper or additional shoyu if needed.
9. Remove water from serving bowls and dry. Place a portion of noodles in each dish then ladle broth with vegetables over the noodles. Using chopsticks, lightly stir noodles into the broth. Top with fresh basil and serve immediately. Eat noodles and veggies with chopsticks and slurp broth with Asian-style soup spoons.




Nourishing Asian Soup for Two

This modified post originated from EcoSalon:

Soba Noodle Soup

I never tire of experimenting with Asian noodle soup. It’s one of my favorite go-to’s for a steamy, healing meal, and it works well when you have leftover vegetables from other recipes that you’re looking to use before they spoil. In fact, it has become a weekly event. I like to vary the noodles, sometimes soba, sometime wide or thin udon. The broth of course is a major component. In this recipe I used homemade chicken stock. Other times, you can basically create the broth through the simmering of vegetables. Or possibly give it a miso spin. Also key is loads of fresh herbs to throw on top- my current favorite is fresh, chopped basil.

This version of soba noodle soup requires very little cooking time. Most of the active time is spent preparing and sauteing the vegetables while bringing water to boil for the noodles and heating the stock. The vegetables don’t need to cook long at all- 3 minutes tops, excepting the onion. Overall time is about 30 minutes.

I often heat two bowls with hot water while preparing so the soup stays hot when serving.

Serves two.

2 – 3 oz. bundles soba (Japanese buckwheat) noodles
3 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1/2 onion, sliced
1 generous inch ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 – 1 serrano pepper, minced (seeds and all)
6-8 dried shittake mushrooms*
1/2 – 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup spinach leaves, chopped
8-10 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
freshly ground pepper


1. Heat water in large saucepan to boil for noodles. Prepare all vegetables.

2. Meanwhile, in a second saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Rinse off dried mushrooms and place in boiling water. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms with slotted spoon and slice when cool enough to handle. Return sliced mushrooms to pot, and keep stock at a low simmer. Add 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil to stock.

3. Heat oil in a frying pan or skillet. Saute ginger and half of the minced pepper, about 30 seconds. Add onion and saute until softening and becoming translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add zucchini and saute about 1 minute. Put sauteed vegetables into simmering stock.

4. When water is boiling, cook the soba noodles. (Follow directions for cooking, usually about 3 minutes cooking time.) Once cooked, drain and rinse noodles and set aside.

5. Add spinach leaves and the rest of the minced serrano to stock and turn up heat slightly, cooking briefly (1-3 minutes) while the noodles cook.

6. Serve noodles in two bowls, cover with hot stock and vegetables, topping with freshly ground pepper and generous basil.

* You can use fresh mushrooms instead of dried ones, depending on what you have on hand. Dried mushrooms help add flavor to the stock, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them. If using fresh, slice 4-6 mushrooms and saute about 3-4 minutes in Step 3. (First saute onion for 3-4 minutes, then add the mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the zucchini.)


Quello Che C’e: “Whatever There Is” Asian Noodle Soup

Asian Noodle Soup

The other day I was craving an Asian style soup, so I looked around my fridge to see what I could drum up.  A friend of mine likes to call this approach “quello che c’e” or “whatever there is.” And so, a Quello Che C’e Soup was born. I found some dried shiitake mushrooms in the pantry, so I soaked a few for 15 minutes in boiling hot water and saved the soaking water for the broth. I also had left0ver cooked angel hair pasta with spinach and garlic from the night before, and decided this would work for a noodle component. Normally, I would probably use soba or udon noodles. The radicchio I had was a variety from the farmer’s market that I don’t normally see in the grocery store. Here’s what I did:


4 dried shiitake mushrooms

1/2 onion, sliced

1 carrot, sliced

1 blue potato, cubed

2-3 leaves radicchio or cabbage, sliced

1 scallion, sliced

1 Tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

1 Tablespoon white miso

2 teaspoons mirin

2 to 3 cups mushroom or vegetable broth.


1. Boil ~4 cups of water in a tea kettle. Pour 2-3 cups boiling water over dried mushrooms in a saucepan, and let sit 10-15 minutes. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon. When mushroom are cool enough, cut into thin slices, and set aside.

2. Put 1 Tablespoon white miso paste into a small bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons boiling water and dissolve the miso. Set aside.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large saucepan or wok over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until nearly softened. Add mirin and continue to saute 1 to 2 minutes or until the onion is starting to caramelize. Add sliced mushrooms and carrots and saute for 1 or 2 more minutes until most of the mirin has been absorbed or evaporated. The carrot need not be completely cooked yet. Set aside.

4. Bring reserved mushroom broth to a light boil. Add potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms. When potatoes and carrots are nearly soft, add cabbage.

5. When all the vegetables in the soup are cooked through (it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes total) and the cabbage is just cooked, remove from heat. Stir in the miso.

6. Pour soup into 1 large or 2 small soup bowls. Stir 1 serving of noodles into broth with chopsticks. Top with scallions, cilantro, and fresh cracked pepper.

Serves 1-2.


This soup was based on what I had in my fridge. I normally probably wouldn’t use potato or radicchio, but instead would prefer broccoli, bok choy or spinach for the vegetables. If using bok choy, separate the stems from the leaves, cooking the stems longer along with the carrots, and throwing in the leaves right at the last minute to cook only a minute or two. (The same would go for the spinach- aka. place it in the boiling broth at the very last minute and cook only very briefly.)

If you don’t have any miso available, use vegetable or chicken broth and add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce to the broth when serving.

Use more water if the ratio of water to vegetables doesn’t seem right.


Sweet Potato & Daikon Brown Rice Pilaf with Tasty Tofu

Tofu with Brown Rice Pilaf and Sauteed Vegetables

I was craving quinoa with tofu the other night only to discover that I was out of quinoa. Oh the tragedy. Actually the real tragedy was not so much the unfulfilled craving but that it was nearing 8:30 pm and what other than quinoa cooks in a quick 15 minutes? I had brown rice, but that was a major setback because we all know brown rice takes forever to cook! What was I to do? I quickly threw the rice in my rice cooker and set to work, praying it would cook faster than usual this time for some odd reason, maybe if I thought about it hard enough. It was humid, right?

One real impetus for this meal was that I had some left-over sweet potato and daikon after making the Mark Bittman seafood/grated vegetable dish on a previous evening. I had planned on throwing it together with the quinoa, but decided that a rice pilaf was in order (given that I didn’t have much choice). I wasn’t sure how it would play out, but it seemed like the flavors could potentially work.

Earlier I had surprisingly remembered and motivated to press some “medium” tofu and get it marinating with a bit of tamari, sesame oil, salt and pepper. When I first acquired a taste for tofu, I preferred the “extra-firm” or “firm” varieties, and indeed these types hold together better for a stir-fry. However, I have recently found that I’m gravitating more toward the softer textures, and the “medium” style tofu absorbs marinades better than the firmer kind, especially if you first press it and remove most of the water that the tofu comes in. In fact, I can’t wait to try making my own tofu soon, as I saw a great recipe in a new Japanese cookbook I recently picked up, woo!

Anyway, to make a long story short, the meal came together swimmingly, or I can only surmise as much considering how quickly the plate of food disappeared once served. (Although it does help when you’re STARVING.) No really, the sweet potato and daikon brown rice was a real hit! All I did was dice both quite small, about 1/4- 1/2 inch in size and saute in a *very small* amount of oil until lightly browned and cooked through . Once the brown rice was finished, I folded in the vegetables, along with about a tablespoon of chopped cilantro (optional) and some salt and pepper. The flavor and texture of the rice was a great complement to the tofu and against some bright, green and crisp sauteed vegetables on the side. Yum!

Japanese Comfort Food- Beef with Potatoes & Beans

Beef with potatoes and beans

A few of my friends accused me of becoming a vegetarian recently. After a couple weeks went by my partner in particular noticed that I didn’t seem to be cooking meat for dinner anymore. While I have reduced my regular meat intake (who wouldn’t after reading numerous Michael Pollan books or especially after watching the documentary, Food, Inc.), I will partake in certain carnivorous practices, as long as I know where my food is coming from. In this instance, I happened to be nearby Drewes Bros. Meat in Noe Valley, which I have come to appreciate as a safe bet. Drewes labels all their meat, so you know exactly where it’s coming from, an important detail for an aspiring, local, sustainable foodie in 2010. I also recently discovered that Drewes has been in business for over 100 years, which somehow inspires confidence. They must know their meats! In this instance I picked up ~4 oz. chateaubriand steak, grass fed beef from Marin Sun Farms in Point Reyes. The chateaubriand caught my eye as looking particularly tasty that day, and it sounded sophisticated, so I figured I’d better try it out. That said, for this recipe any sirloin would do.

Speaking of the recipe! I found this one while browsing at the Omnivore bookstore. It comes from a cookbook by Yoko Arimoto called Simply Japanese. The book tugged at my heartstrings, as I love Japanese-style cooking. Especially intriguing was the section on making tofu, something I’ve vowed to try soon. Anyway, because I couldn’t justify buying the book for the moment (although I really, really wanted to), I quickly memorized this recipe and made it that evening, buying the ingredients on my way home.

True to the title of the cookbook, the recipe is very simple with few ingredients, but makes a great meal on a cold night. I added ginger and garlic, which was not in the book’s recipe.

– hBru


4 oz beef sliced thinly (be sure to remove any excessive fat)

1/2 onion, cut in large slices

1 garlic, sliced or minced

1 inch ginger, peeled and grated or minced

2 potatoes, pref. russet, peeled & cut into equal size pieces around 1 1/2 inches in size

10-15 green beans, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch sections

2 T brown sugar

3 T soy sauce or Tamari

~ 1-2 T mild olive oil, canola or sesame oil


1. Heat 1 tsp or so oil in large saucepan. Sear beef quickly over medium to high heat, removing as soon as it changes color. Set aside.

2. Add another 1 T of oil or so to pan. When hot, add ginger and garlic- cook briefly then add the onion and potatoes. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently over medium high heat.

3. Add enough water to cook the potatoes, but not too much! Also stir in the brown sugar. Cover and cook 5 more minutes.

4. Add the cut green beans. Cover and cook about 10 more minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

5.  Add tamari and serve hot over short brown rice.

Serves 2 w/ seconds and leftovers or 4 single servings

An Infatuation with Soba Noodles, Greens & Poached Eggs

Buckwheat soba noodles with greens

After discovering local fresh eggs, an obsession with poached eggs quickly developed.

Recipe: Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Greens  & Poached Egg


  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 to 1/2 sliced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5-6 large chard leaves, washed, de-stemmed and cut or ripped into med. to small pieces
  • a few broccoli florets
  • 2-3 T soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 poached egg
  • 1 bundle buckwheat soba noodles


  1. Put ~ 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water on to boil (for the noodles).
  2. Put 2 cups stock in saucepan, cover and bring to simmer, medium heat.
  3. Heat small saucepan with ~1 inch of water, 1/2 tsp vinegar and 1/2 tsp salt, cover and bring to simmer. (You want it to boil, but keep an eye out, so the water doesn’t boil off…reduce heat if necessary while preparing vegetables.)
  4. Prepare vegetables.
  5. Heat saucepan or wok with 1 tsp oil. Saute onions until soft. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, ~30 seconds. Add chard and broccoli and stir for a minute or two. Add small amount of water, a pinch or two of salt, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 7-8 minutes over medium heat.
  6. While the vegetables are cooking, break egg into separate small dish so it’s ready to poach.
  7. The noodle water should be boiling now. Add soba noodles and cook until done, ~3-6 minutes (check package for time, it varies).
  8. When noodles are done, pour out hot water and quickly rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  9. Meanwhile, check vegetables. When they are almost ready, stir in soy sauce to taste. (~2-3 T) and turn heat to medium-low or low.
  10. Next, carefully slide egg into boiling water/vinegar mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low so only slightly simmering. Cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of egg and how done you like your egg.
  11. When the egg is almost done, pour hot stock into serving dish. Stir in cooked noodles. Place sautéed vegetables on next. When egg is ready, remove from saucepan with slotted spoon and place on top.

Voila! Instant lunch. (Or dinner.)


This recipe doesn’t take long, but it does require 4 burners and specific timing.

I’ll admit, a fair few dishes, but they clean up quickly as they’re mostly used for boiling water. And hey, that’s what dishwashers are for!

Also, I believe in the pictured version above, I mixed in some hot garlic chili paste into the vegetables at the end. This makes for a more Chinese flavor than Japanese.

If cooking for 2, poach 2 eggs (increase vinegar and salt to 1 tsp each), sauté a few more vegetables and cook two bundles of noodles.

Other options:

  • sliced shitake or button mushrooms
  • diced or sliced carrots
  • minced ginger
  • other greens, such as kale
  • udon noodles instead of soba

Soba Noodles, Tofu and Vegetables Another day, another version. Two poached eggs on top was too much for me in a single serving. This round included tofu, rainbow chard, carrots and a garnish of green onions and parsley. Cilantro would have made more sense, but all I had on hand was parsley, so I gave it a go. I would not recommend the parsley.