I've never been in Australia during the April/May months, which is Autumn here, and keep reminding myself that things are sprouting and greening and defrosting back home. The Midwest extremes of humid summers and frozen winters is a thing of the past for me and the seasons here seem to shift gently into one another. Even though it is only slightly cooler than it has been, especially at night, I can feel myself beginning to crave some comfort foods.
For me, a heaping pile of noodles tends to satisfy that craving. I love thick, chewy udon noodles and the two kinds of mushrooms add another layer of chew to the dish. They are lightly seasoned with ginger, garlic, soy and sesame.
The list of ingredients may look long but don't be wary, this is meant to come together fast and minimal effort is needed. Besides a bit of chopping and measuring, the ingredients are sauteed while the noodles cook. A big bag of baby spinach is called for here and it will all cook down nicely. Just stir it in in batches.
For 2-3 servings:
- 6 ounces (180 grams) udon noodles
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 3.5 ounces (100 grams) oyster mushrooms, tough stems trimmed
- 3.5 ounces (100 grams) shiitake mushrooms, tough stems trimmed and caps thickly sliced
- 6 ounces (160 grams) bagged baby spinach
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing cooking wine or dry white wine
- 7 ounces (200 grams) baked tofu, cut into small cubes*
- 1½ tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or scallions
Place the noodles in a pot of salted boiling water and cook according to package directions.
While the noodles are cooking, heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet or wok. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Add the spinach in large handfuls at a time until it cooks down. When all the spinach has been cooked, add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, a couple minutes more. Add the tofu and noodles and stir to incorporate with the vegetables. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil and toss again. Tongs are helpful for this task.
Spoon the noodles into bowls and top with the chives or scallions and serve sriracha on the side for those who like it spicy.
*I like a baked tofu that is "honey soy" flavored but use whatever you prefer and is available.