horizon-broadening udon noodles
Have you been to your local Asian supermarket lately? Or, like, ever? Because if not, you should go. I’m lucky; I’ve got one of the biggest Asian markets in the area less than ten minutes away. And yet, for some reason, I never go there. I really should — in addition to a great variety of produce, seafood, and Asian specialty foods, their prices make the trip worthwhile. I did manage to get out there a while ago, and while I spent a good hour wandering around looking at things (and trying not to get run over by the inevitable masses of people with shopping carts) all I bought was a package of udon noodles. And yes, I think you can find udon noodles in the regular grocery stores now, so if you don’t have a specialty store near you, don’t despair, you can still make the recipe I’m posting today. But if you can manage to get out to an Asian supermarket, check out all the interesting things you can buy — and check out their prices and wide selection, too.
In any case, I’m glad I picked up the udon noodles, even if I didn’t take advantage of the rest of what was available. Udon noodles, in case you didn’t know, are noodles which are generally made with wheat flour and water. They’re a little paler and starchier than your regular Italian-style pasta, and are usually used for udon itself, which is a Japanese soup. I’m a fan of nabe udon, personally — it’s a seafood soup, with all sorts of delicious things in it along with the usual noodles. Although I must admit that I haven’t had it in a while — once I learned how great sushi was, it became all I ever ordered, to the detriment of my udon-eating. Clearly, we should just be going out for Japanese food more often, to solve this problem (if only! Don doesn’t eat it, which is why sushi is a rare treat for me to have when I’m going out with someone other than him).
In any case, nabe udon aside, I’m actually not a huge soup eater, particularly at home. I’ll go out for udon or pho, but present me with a bowl of soup at home and I’m just unenthused. I realize this is probably a basic flaw in my personality. I’m working on it. In the meantime, I wanted to do something that wasn’t soup with my newly-procured udon noodles, and after some Internet trawling, I found just the thing. It was a huge hit with Don, and will probably be in our regular rotation of side dishes. On top of all of its other pluses, it was really easy to make, which as we all know goes a long way with me.
Pick up some udon noodles and try this out — I think you’ll like it. In the meantime, I’m going to try to overcome my soup issues.
Peanut Udon Noodles with Ginger, Lemon, and Chive
¾ lb udon noodles (3 bundles)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
½ cup water
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp honey
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Cook noodles according to package directions, unless the directions on the package are in Japanese like mine were, in which case just boil them like any other pasta and drain them. Combine all remaining ingredients except ginger and chives in a small saucepan and simmer for five minutes, whisking to dissolve peanut butter. Stir chives and ginger into sauce and simmer for another 30 seconds, then pour over noodles and toss to combine.
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Tags: asian, chives, ginger, japanese food, peanut butter, side dishes, udon noodles