As many of you know by now, I try to use Japanese seasonings and flavors in my cooking. Growing up, my mother often laughed at how I’d try to use excessive amounts of bold seasoning – possibly trying to assert my “American-ness” in my cooking, and defying the common-sense rules of Japanese cooking (subtle, reserved, multi-faceted and layered) … and manners.
These days, I’ve come to embrace my Japanese heritage, and try very hard to incorporate certain items into my girls’ lives.
One of these items – is the noodle, or as my girls call them, “men men!!”
My husband prefers eggs, bacon and toast, or eggs, bacon and waffles on a weekend morning. Quite often, the thought of lugging the waffle maker out of its place in the laundry room (space hog results in items being sent off into Siberia) or having to wipe down the stove-floor-counter-sink after a greasy fry-up gives me heartburn. I’ll try to negotiate with him to just… oh, have a fried egg and toast (with HP sauce) and a glass of cold milk in a frosty glass.
I grew up having noodles on the weekends – whether it be udon, soba, champon, ramen… my father in charge of Sunday breakfast always resulted in long strands of dough in various styles. My favorites were noodles served in broths – and I especially loved when my father would make udon or soba noodles, and then provide a soup thickened with katakuriko, or what I called “Doro Doro sou-pu.” I especially liked when my father added a cooked, scrambled egg, or tamagotoji, as well as some other items, such as narutomaki fish cakes, scallions, and vegetables.
My girls also love noodles for breakfast, and often, “Mama Mennn mennn!” is what I would wake up to on the weekends.
This weekend, they had udon noodles in soup with blanched spinach, carrots, poached egg, scallions, and (not pictured here) wakame. The older one deftly captures each noodle and vegetable with her chopsticks, while the little one snags the end of a noodle with her chopsticks, and grabs them with her other hand.
The soup is made by adding shiitake powder, dried shiitake, soy sauce, a little salt, and a little sugar to a small pot of water. I slowly bring this to almost boiling, but then, turn down the heat so the soup doesn’t actually boil. I technically need to leave the shiitake mushrooms to reconstitute in room temperature water, but I never seem to have the time, so I take short cuts. Sometimes I’ll add a piece of konbu, or kelp, and other times, katsuobushi.
For Saturday’s version, I had a pot of boiling water for the noodles only, and I cooked the veggies and the egg in the soup pot.
Between exclamations of “Mama atsuii! (hot!)” and blowing on the noodles to cool them off, the girls were content and full.