I am not Asian. I have been to Asia once. I lived near Argyle Street in Chicago for three years and got addicted to odd noodle dishes from joints where roast ducks hang in the windows. I could go to my local Thai or Vietnamese or Chinese place and get a great bowl of noodles for $7-$10. But since discovering Mitsuwa I’ve been making my own. It’s inexpensive, healthy, tastes really good, and while the initial chopping can seem like a chore, once you’ve done it a few times everything comes together pretty quickly.
In no way do I vouch for the “authenticity” of anything I make – I’m cobbling stuff together from Tofu Meemaw, from What’s Cooking Chinese (a very tasty and pretty cookbook where every recipe will call for at least one thing you don’t have in the house, so I adapt a lot), and from a book of low-fat fruit and vegetable recipes I bought in college. I know that you will probably want some soy sauce, some ginger, some dried red chilis, some rice vinegar, and some sesame oil around. I know that mushrooms, bok choy, and peapods are good vegetables. I know that I always forget to get fish sauce any time I am anywhere that carries fish sauce.
For tonight’s dinner, I made a marinade out of a little soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, and about a tsp of grated fresh ginger. I covered a six ounce salmon filet with it and let it sit for about 45 minutes. Then I grilled it on a hot grill pan.
For the noodles:
- I chopped some garlic and grated more ginger, sliced 10-12 shiitake mushrooms, 3 green onions, and a head of bok choy.
- I cooked 1/3 pkg of udon noodles in water, and used 1 cup of the water and a boullion cube to make broth.
- I combined 1/4 tsp of corn starch with 1 tbsp of water into a paste.
- I heated some oil in a wide-mouthed pot with a lid, and added the garlic, ginger, and 2 dried red chilis, letting everything get friendly for a minute or so.
- Then I added the mushrooms, tossing frequently.
- I threw in the cabbage, green onion, and a few splashes of soy sauce and let everything cook for a few minutes.
- I tossed in the broth, turned the heat down, and covered the pot for a few minutes.
- At the end I tossed in the corn starch paste and stirred well. I added the noodles next and let everything cook for one more minute. I served with the salmon on top and a good 1/2 teaspoon or so of chili-garlic sauce.
I only made one serving of salmon, but the noodles, etc. make about 3-4 meals. I might add more broth to them for lunch tomorrow and turn them into a soup. What’s your favorite stir-fry recipe?