Japanese soup features noodles, shrimp

DINNER TONIGHT

December 20, 2006|By Bill Daley | Bill Daley,Chicago Tribune

Japanese soup can be a filling one-dish meal featuring a variety of foods. What's nice about these soups is how easily and quickly they can be made. The seaweed stock cooks in minutes rather than the hours it takes to make Western-style meat stocks.

Use homemade kombu stock. The recipe, based on one published in Japanese Dishes for Wine Lovers, is simple: Simmer two 4-inch square sheets of kombu seaweed in 8 cups of water. Or use a commercially available powdered dashi mix reconstituted according to label instructions. Both can be found at Asian stores, specialty markets and, increasingly, in supermarkets.

Start the meal with an assortment of sushi bought ready-made at your favorite restaurant or market.

Bill Daley writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis. Japanese-Style Noodle Soup

Serves 4 -- Total time: 30 minutes

1 package (10 ounces) udon noodles

2 pieces dried kombu (seaweed) or 8 cups of dashi stock (see note)

2 packages (10 ounces each) spinach, stemmed, chopped

1/2 pound medium uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined

1 cup shredded cooked chicken or pork

1/2 pound extra-firm tofu, diced

1 tablespoon each: soy sauce, toasted sesame oil

2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

4 green onions, minced

Cook the udon noodles according to package instructions. Drain; set aside. Meanwhile, if using kombu, heat 2 strips of kombu with 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook 4 minutes; remove the kombu. Add the spinach and shrimp to the kombu or dashi stock; cook just until shrimp has turned pink, about 2 minutes. Stir in meat, tofu and reserved noodles.

Cook, stirring, just until heated through. Season with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Ladle into 4 soup bowls; top with egg slices and green onions.

Note: Dried kombu and powdered dashi mix are available in Asian markets or in the Asian section of some supermarkets.

Per serving: 500 calories, 11 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 221 milligrams cholesterol, 56 grams carbohydrate, 43 grams protein, 922 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber

Menu suggestion

Assorted sushi

Japanese-style noodle soup

Orange segments drizzled with Midori liqueur

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