Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Using my noodle

It’s official; I have been obsessed with noodles ever since the Tampopo incident. Today I finally decided to do something about it…dinner!

I have to admit that I have no idea how authentic my noodling project was, but you know what? It was totally yummy and made me happy, so two thumbs up for making stuff up!

Luckily (or subconsciously perhaps?) I had some of the following handy:

noodle, kombu, bonito

That would be some bonito flakes and kombu for soup making, and of, course, the NOODLES!

noodle close up 1
noodle close up 2

I picked up these skinny bundles of tomoshiraga somen joy during my last Chinatown trip – the fact that they’re wrapped up in little pink bands had nothing to do with the impulse buy, I promise.

noodle close up 3

The kombu and bonito, on the other hand, were things purchased out of curiosity and hopeful eagerness (much like the yoga mat and resistance bands now collecting dust by the tv…mmm, tv) after slurping back a delicious soupy bowl of sizzling udon noodles at Toshi Sushi one recent afternoon.

bonito close up

After discovering that I, too, could attempt (yes, attempt being the operative word here) to make the stock known as dashi, at home, off I dashed to the nearest wonderland of all things edible and Japanese, Sanko Trading. There I found wee training sized packets of kombu (dried seaweed) and bonito flakes (shaved pieces from smoked, dried tuna-like fish called, um, bonito). Fun!

bonito close up

So, let’s soup, shall we? I soaked the dried kombu in cold water until it softened up a bit (see top, now it kinda looks like a banana leaf. Or linoleum, actually.) Meanwhile, I started simmering some veggies away (just water, onions, bits of ginger and green onion so far) and added the soaked kombu and some more cold water. Just as the whole shebang starts to simmer again, take out the kombu (apparently too much briny goodness actually tastes like bitter pond scum, not yummy) and dust in the bonito flakes like it’s feeding time at an aquarium. Turn off the heat and let the bonito settle to the bottom of your fabulous smelling pot before straining the solids out. That’s pretty much it. (You could, of course, add some salt or soy sauce if you want at this point.) Keep your soup warm while you putter on with the rest…

Onto the supporting actors in this whole exciting project:

bacon, green onions, shanghai bok choy

We’ve got some baby shanghai bok choy, green onions and…double smoked slab bacon. Oh yeah.

bacon close up

Sometimes I stare at bacon so long that it makes me feel like a dirty old man.

bok choy close up

green onion close up

green onion close up 2

So, green things. Good for crunching and general colour contrast providers to the awesomeness of crispy fried bacon.

fried bacon close up

Which is what we have here. I love you too, bacon!

At this point, resist the urge to eat your crispy hard work and get another pot of water on. While it’s coming up to a rolling boil, get your noodle bowl of choice set up. Here I’ve got some sesame oil hanging out at the bottom…

sesame oil

And because I do love surprises, and apparently have no fear of cholesterol, I just thought I’d throw in a sunny-side up egg in there too. (I think my heart just whimpered a little.)

egg yolk close up

Dunk your veggies in the now boiling water for a minute to cook them, then arrange your fixins in your bowl however you like. Boil up your noodles for a few minutes. Throw them on top of your artfully arranged stage and top it all off with a few ladlefuls of your fresh homemade soup.

bowl fixins

soup & noodles!

I like to take a couple sips of the clear soup before I proceed to poke at the soft cooked yolk of the fried egg. Mmm, saucy goodness.

gooey egg close up 1
gooey egg close up 2

Happy eating...and don’t forget to slurp!


  1. You make everything look good!

  2. Aw, shucks...thanks! (And thank goodness for macro settings too.) xo, f.

  3. pure food porn!
    great pics, you need to work for donna hay!

  4. holy crap!

    suddenly, the leftovers i brought for lunch don't look so great anymore. do you think you could come to my house and make this for me?

  5. Anon: porn is my kinda porn! Love the Donna Hay series too. :)

    Michelle: Absolutely! Your site is awesome, by the way. Love the swearing!