Although homemade dashi (Japanese seaweed broth) is part of the easy beauty of this dish, you can substitute instant dashi in a pinch. If you take that shortcut, infuse the broth with fresh ginger.
2 large sheets kombu (kelp)
2 quarts cold water
1 cup bonito flakes (about 1/4 ounce)
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 ounce dried mushroom blend
1 (14-ounce) package fresh jumbo udon noodles
2 green onions, trimmed
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
How to Make It
Wipe kombu clean with a cloth; cut sheeting lengthwise into 3-inch pieces. Place kombu in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; cover with 2 quarts cold water. Heat mixture to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat; discard kombu. Stir in bonito and ginger; let stand 10 minutes or until bonito sinks. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined colander over a bowl; discard solids.
Wipe pan clean. Return broth to pan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in mushrooms; let stand 20 minutes. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined colander over a bowl, reserving mushrooms and broth. Wipe pan clean. Return broth to pan; bring to a simmer. Coarsely chop mushrooms.
Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Cut onions into 1-inch pieces; cut each piece in half lengthwise. Cut onion pieces lengthwise into thin strips. Combine sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Add shrimp to broth; cook 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms; cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar mixture. Place about 1 cup noodles in each of 4 bowls; top with 2 cups broth mixture. Divide onion strips evenly among bowls.
Like the first "rater", I agree that this soup required a lot more seasoning. We used regular soy sauce and still had to bring it to the table. Second, it required too much effort for the result. The soup was bland and too complicated to make for the return on the time investment. I am not one to shy away from complicated as I have Boeuf Bourguignon in the oven right now but when you spend three hours on that its worth it. This recipe wasn't worth the two hours.
This is a good recipe for udon soup, however I felt it was grossly lacking in salt. That being said, I wouldn't make it again. It was somewhat expensive to purchase the ingredients if you don't have them on hand, and it was a huge mess/not at all straightforward. For a solid, but somewhat bland soup, it wasn't worth the effort to me.
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