Meera Sodha

Ve­gan udon noo­dles

The Guardian - Feast - - Front Page - Meera Sodha

Udon noo­dles are my favourite noo­dles: fat, chewy and won­der­fully slur­pable. There is much joy to be had in their bounci­ness, and in the speed with which they can hit the ta­ble, given that they’re avail­able cooked and ‘ready to wok’. In Ja­pan, they’re of­ten added to hot soups, but I’ve never man­aged to work out the bowl-to-mouth ma­noeu­vre with­out ru­in­ing a per­fectly good top. I like them best yaki-style, stir-fried with a party of veg­eta­bles and, in this in­stance, spiced with curry pow­der, slightly sweet and spiked with lime.

Udon noo­dles with red cab­bage and cau­li­flower Roast­ing brings out the cab­bage’s bit­ter, caramel notes. You can buy ready-to-wok udon in most su­per­mar­kets. Ja­panese pink pick­led ginger may be harder to find; look in Asian food stores and on­line. I’ve in­cluded a recipe just in case.

For the pick­led ginger (if mak­ing), salt the ginger ba­tons, leave for 30 min­utes, then squeeze to re­move as much wa­ter as pos­si­ble. Put the wa­ter, vine­gar and sugar in a small pan, bring to a boil and cook un­til the sugar dis­solves. Pour over the squeezed ginger, leave to cool, then store in a clean, air­tight con­tainer.

Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/ gas 7. Put the cab­bage on one oven tray and the cau­li­flower on an­other, mak­ing sure the lat­ter is in a sin­gle layer, so it doesn’t steam. In a small bowl, mix two ta­ble­spoons each of oil and soy sauce, then pour over the cauli and cab­bage, and coat well.

Pop both trays in the oven. Roast the cau­li­flower for 15 min­utes, un­til just ten­der and black­en­ing, then re­move. Roast the cab­bage for 20 min­utes longer, un­til burned at the edges but still hold­ing its shape.

Heat two ta­ble­spoons of oil in a large, non­stick fry­ing pan on a medium-high flame. Add the spring onions and fry hard for two min­utes, un­til start­ing to brown but still bright green. Add the gar­lic and cook for a minute more, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally so it doesn’t catch and burn.

Add the noo­dles, toss to coat in the gar­licky oil and onions, then stir in the curry pow­der and mirin, and cook for a minute. Add the cab­bage and cau­li­flower, toss to com­bine, and cook for two min­utes, un­til the noo­dles take on a lit­tle colour. Add the re­main­ing two ta­ble­spoons of soy and the lime juice, and toss to coat.

Trans­fer to four plates or bowls, and sprin­kle a lit­tle pick­led ginger and se­same seeds over each por­tion.

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