blue mountains. udon with miso lentil sauce
happiness hit her like a train on a track.
udon with miso lentil sauce

  • Any aspirations I may have towards writing coherent blog posts: gone, upon booking plane/hotel/park tickets for TOKYO DISNEYLAND OMG for Halloween weekend. Ohmygodohmygod it's gonna be the best thing ever.
  • Invitations out on a Saturday night: declined, in favour of watching 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' and drinking sake. I'm okay with that. I'm also sort of in love with Audrey Hepburn... and I always thought I was more a Marilyn kinda girl. Well; you live, you learn.
  • Healthy eating aspirations: foiled, when my Disney-planning-buddy showed up at my apato with chocolate chip cookies and bean paste buns. She clearly knows how to win me over.
  • I may be incapable of writing, partying, or taking basic care of myself, but the good news is I'm still a fierce-fabulous cook. Before I came to Japan, I promised more noodles, but it's taken me this long to deliver on that - this is inspired by a Kurihara Harumi recipe of ground chicken in a miso sauce, but I borrowed Isa Chandra Moscowitz' trick of using a mix of puy lentils and shiitake mushrooms for a very satisfying, very savoury meat-free alternative. Shall we talk about how much I love miso? I love miso. It just tastes good.
  • Incidentally: on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, I always thought I was a soba (buckwheat) noodle girl, too. Actually, now I'm in Japan, udon are rocking my world. I don't know if the noodles are a metaphor for my taste in classic Hollywood actresses, or if the actresses are a metaphor for my noodle preferences. This is what I mean about the coherency problem.
Udon Noodles with a Lentil Miso Sauce

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
200g (7oz) shiitake mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
2 carrots, diced - I was too lazy to cut mine smaller, but I wish I had
3/4c. green Puy lentils
750ml (3 c.) + 90ml (1/3 c.) vegetable stock/broth
1 Tbsp sake
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp caster sugar
4 Tbsp awase miso
finely shredded spring onions & cucumber, to garnish
400g dried udon noodles
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan,  add the onions, and cook for about four minutes until transluscent. Add the shiitake, garlic and seasoning, and cook gently for another five minutes. Add carrots, lentils and 750ml (3c.) stock, then cover and bring to the boil; allow to simmer for 25 minutes or so until cooked through.
Cook the udon noodles in a large saucepan of hot water, according to packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse briefly under cold water to remove any stickiness. Allow to drain thoroughly.
In a small bowl, mix the remaining 90ml (1/3c.) stock, sake, soy sauce, mirin, sugar and miso paste together until smooth.  Add this to the pan of lentils, and allow to cook gently for a couple of minutes more until it thickens (do not boil it after this point, or you'll lose all the awesome healthy goodness from the miso).
 Place the noodles either on one large serving plate or in individual dishes and pour the lentil sauce on top. Garnish with shredded spring onions and cucumber. Eat in a patch of late afternoon sunlight, on your fire escape.


  1. Disneyland - woho! I've actually never seen a Marilyn Monroe movie, I feel kind of lousy about it, I totally should! I wish there was more noodles available here, not just the instant ones and thin rice noodles. Definitely gonna buy some more varieties when in the big city.

  2. Today a three year old called me like Audrey Hepburn. Her five year old sister said 'no, you're prettier.'

    Then again the only image of her they had seen was black and white and I am in colour.

    P.s. SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF YOU IN DISNEYLAND TOKYO. Take a lot of pictures so I can live vicariously through you?

    LOVE xxx

  3. mmm udon! brings back childhood memories. my mom always cooked udon noodle soup or stir-fried udon with bokchoy, onions, and carrots! so good!

  4. This recipe looks amazing. I learned of your blog because of the cookie dough hummus recipe which is now seriously the food I could survive on if I had to live on a desert island. I am salivating just thinking about it. This recipe looks great. Are the shitakes fresh or dried??? Thanks!

  5. Anon - you charmer! The shiitakes are fresh; you could probably sub in other mushrooms but shiitakes are nice and authentic and have a great texture. :D

  6. I like shitakes. I can't stand garden variety white mushrooms but i love some of the more fancy ones. I am totally going to try this out. (My 7yo loves mushrooms, too, so this might be one of the rare dishes I concoct that as least one of my kids will eat... ) Pretty sure our grocery store sells fresh ones! (And I am serious... seriously addicted to the cookie dough hummus. I cut the sugar and it still tastes awesome - I just broke a piece on our blender and am sad I won't be able to make it till we get a new rubber ring!)

  7. what a wonderful recipe and awesome photos, I haven't tasted this yet, but I have a plan for tonight, thanks a lot for sharing with us...keep posting

  8. I know you posted this a while ago but I have so many bookmarked recipes it takes me a while to get to them! Anyway, I made this dish tonight and it was delicious. I wasn't sure what awake miso was but I used a red variety I had at home and it worked fine. Went down well with my Mummy too! Thanks :)


© papillon.Maira Gall