Udon Noodle Soup with Greens & Tofu
The inspiration for this dish is ironically some delicious-looking, street side, fresh noodle soup shown on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations . As you probably are aware, Tony has a disdainful attitude towards vegetarians, but everyone has their foibles. This delicious udon noodle soup is very easy to prepare, full of fresh colorful vegetables, and a perfect vehicle for tofu.
For me, the fresh jalapenos and fresh cilantro are critical to the success of this dish. Also, I think the spinach, added at the last minute, really adds a freshness and texture that would be sadly missed. I have to admit, I've made this soup five or six times in the last month. It's one of those dishes that is easy and tastes so healthy, you just can't resist making it again and again. For me, you have to eat it with chop sticks and drink the broth directly from the bowl.
Udon Noodle Soup with Greens & Tofu:
1 large garlic clove, very thinly sliced
Fresh ginger (size of a large garlic clove), peeled, and finely chopped
1 tsp grapeseed oil
32 oz vegetable stock (I used Wolfgang Puck's, it's salty than most and has less of a celery flavor)
1 large carrot, sliced thinly on the diagonal
sliced fresh green jalapeno (as desired)
1 cup broccoli florettes
1 cup snap peas
4 scallions, roots removed, sliced on the diagonal
1 package udon noodles and spice pack if included.
8 fresh white mushrooms, finely sliced
6 oz tofu (I've used smoked tofu, plain firm tofu, deep fried tofu puffs - all are good!)
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup cilantro
Heat the grapeseed oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and saute the ginger and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and carrots and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the sliced jalapeno. Cook 1 minute and add the broccoli, snap peas, scallions and udon noodles. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the tofu and mushrooms. Cook 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cilantro and turn off the heat.
Serve as soon as the spinach is wilted.
Other vegetable options - frozen peas, kale, leeks for a fall/winter version.