10-minute soup

I spontaneously found a way to use up several of our odder ingredients at once last night, in a way that pleasantly accentuates their flavors.  The shungiku and amaranth greens really shine through in something this simple.  This was partly dependent on ingredients I keep in my cupboard, namely Udon noodles (a thick Japanese noodle, but you could sub egg noodles) and Tsuyu soup base (a starter broth for Japanese noodle soups, called hontsuyu or mentsuyu – basically soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar — you could sub any chicken, fish, or vegetable stock with comparable results).  And I realize this is a warm dish in our warm weather, but it was perfect yesterday when I came in from cutting grass and was sitting near the swamp cooler.

10-minute soup
about 5 cups water or stock
3-4 tablespoons soup base
two shallot scapes, chopped
one handful shungiku greens, chopped
one handful amaranth greens, chopped
two bundles udon noodles
white (or black) pepper to garnish

Start the water to boil and add your stock flavoring.  As it heats, throw in the scapes and greens.  About the time it comes to a boil, add the noodles.  Udon cook quickly (<5 minutes) so you won’t have to wait long.  Turn off heat, serve, and sprinkle with white pepper.

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2 thoughts on “10-minute soup

  1. I just found your blog by total accident, but I am rellay glad that I did. My spouse is Japanese, and we have talked about moving from California back to her home city there. reading your posts rellay hits home with me and how I also have seen the amazingly structured lives of the Japanese. Thanks for writing this blog and showing a truly open mind from a gaijin perspective.

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    • I spent three years living in Japan (between Nara and Osaka), and our farmer was raised in China. I find that the Japanese style of cooking, with so much emphasis on fresh ingredients, simple approaches, and inclusion of “peasant vegetables” like greens and roots, is really ideal for the mix of foods he grows. It was great to hear from you, and I appreciate the comments.

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