For whatever reason, I always catch a cold during seasonal transitions. Without fail. I dread the mornings when I wake up with a scratchy, dry throat because it means that I have days of stuffy noses and sore throats to look forward to.
Earlier this month, while I was battling another cold, I craved noodle soup made with a clear broth. After throwing together some ingredients, I came up with this ginger miso udon noodle soup. The broth is simple but packed with savory umami flavor. I also served the noodles with pan-fried five-spice tofu for some protein. You can feel free to substitute the tofu with any other protein of your choice.
COOKING NOTES FOR GINGER MISO UDON NOODLES
While not required, I highly recommend cooking the broth for the ginger miso udon noodles with kombu (dried kelp). It gives the broth great umami flavor, and it’s relatively inexpensive. If you want to experiment with kombu in this recipe, I would add a 4×4-inch sheet (roughly that size) of kombu the same time that you add the vegetable broth. Right when the broth is about to come to a boil, remove the kombu from the pot, as it can release a slightly bitter flavor if you let it simmer for too long.
LOOKING FOR MORE NOODLE SOUPS? TRY THESE:
- Zucchini Noodles with Tomato and Coconut Broth
- Hot and Sour Coconut Noodle Soup
- Easy Green Curry Noodles
Ginger Miso Udon Noodles with Five-Spice Tofu
Ginger Miso Udon Noodles
- 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons white/yellow miso paste
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 7 cups vegetable broth
- 4-inch piece of kombu (optional)
- salt to taste
- 8 ounces dry udon noodles (see note 1)
- 6 ounces bok choy, trimmed and rinsed
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
- 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- sliced scallions
- black sesame seeds
Make the Broth
- In a pot, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat the pot over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the miso paste and stir the paste constantly until the paste is no longer lumpy. A few tiny lumps is okay.
- Add the coriander, vegetable broth, and kombu, if using. Cover the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring the broth to boil. Right before the broth boils, remove the kombu from the pot. It releases a bitter flavor when overcooked. Reduce the heat to low and let the broth simmer as you finish cooking the other ingredients.
Cook the Tofu
- Drain the tofu. Slice the tofu block in half, crosswise, so that you have 2 short and thick rectangles. Cut each half into 4 slices, crosswise, so that you will end up with 8 small rectangles. Slice each rectangle on the diagonal so that you end up with 16 rectangles.
- Mix the soy sauce with the five-spice powder and pour it over a non-stick pan. Take a piece of the tofu, and drag it around the soy sauce mixture. Flip the tofu over to cover all sides with soy sauce and leave the piece of tofu in the pan. Continue with the remaining pieces of tofu, until all the soy sauce has been absorbed by the tofu, and all the pieces are in the pan. Fry the tofu over medium heat for about 4 minutes, flipping halfway. It’s perfectly fine if the pan is dry at this point. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, and continue cooking the tofu for another 3 to 4 minutes, flipping it halfway.
- Turn off the heat and leave the tofu on the pan.
Cook the Noodles and Vegetables
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to boil. Add the dried noodles to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions. The noodles I used required about 6 minutes of cooking. Once the noodles are cooked, drain the noodles and run them under cold water.
- Taste the broth and add more salt, to taste. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the broth to boil again. Add the bok choy and cook it for about 2 minutes, until green parts of the bok choy are vibrant green. If you want to cook the carrots, add them along with the bok choy.
- Divide the noodles in bowls and ladle broth over the noodles. Top with the vegetables and tofu, and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
- You might also see vacuum-sealed, slightly cooked udon noodles in the stores. If you are using those udon noodles, use 3 small packages of them.
- This recipe is meant to serve 2 people with 1 serving for leftovers. If you want this to serve 4 people, I would add another 2 to 4 ounces of dried noodles and another cup or two of broth.
- There is often a lot of dirt stuck around the stem of bok choy. Be sure to rinse the vegetables several times to get rid of the dirt.