- 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.