Japanese Udon in Garlic Broth with Chicken Karaage

When I first came to Perth, it was on the mid of the winter season and I remember going to Zensaki for a bowl of hot udon noodles. The fragrant mild salty garlic soup with fried chicken was so fantastic and I swore to myself that I would need to learn how to recreate it.
My hot bowl of udon noodles in garlic infused soup
The secret to making the soup lies with one of my favourite all time sauce – Ninben Tsuyu No Moto. Ninben sauce is made up of dried Bonito Extract and Kelp Extract primarily so it adds extra smoky taste to the soup base.
Udon noodles can be bought at any Asian groceries over here. The key to making it springy is to cook them in hot boiling (slightly salted) water in a saucepan and then quickly rinse them under running cold water to stop the cooking process.
The best thing to go with slurpy hot noodles is of course crunchy fried Karaage chicken – the next best thing in Japanese cuisine in my humble opinion. There are many recipes out there for Karaage Chicken but I followed the one here.
The recipe for the Udon noodle is as follows:
  • 2-3 stalk of scallions (chopped them into 4-5 cm long stalk)
  • 1 carrot (chopped them into shapes if you like)
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic (almost half of a whole garlic)
  • 2-3 dried Shitake mushrooms (as much as you like and also depending on it’s size) but soaked them in hot water before using it.
  • 5 tablespoons of Ninben sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of Daishi granules
  • A dash of pepper
Boil all ingredients in in a large saucepan with about 800ml of water.You can adjust the recipe based on the water volume, however the Ninben sauce ratio must always be more than soya sauce. Boil on high heat for 10 minutes and simmer for another 10 minutes before serving.
I like to prepare set of vegetables i.e. carrots, choysum, scallions, shitake mushrooms and serve them with the noodles. Reason being the ingredients used to boil the soup stock can be a little overly soft and mushy to be consumed.
To serve, assemble the boiled udon in a bowl, arrange the vegetables and laddle the hot soup over the noodles. Topped it up with chopped scallions.

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