Jul 11

Udon in Mushroom & Mince Meat Sauce



Udon in Mushroom Mince Meat sauce3





Hooray! Hooray! Its noodle day today!

From time to time I do feel really blessed, being able to appreciate life influenced by two cultures. A significant portion of my adult life has been spent living in western countries and eating western food … but it is my Asian upbringing that compels me to cook and eat stuff, like the one  I am posting here today, for breakfast. No better way to start the day sometimes, than scoffing down a hearty bowl of noodles. The variety of breakfast noodles available back home is insane … and I think that’s what I miss the most … variety and choice.




Typically, noodles come in one of three ways : In soup, fried or tossed in sauce. Personally, I like the ones tossed in sauce coz I like salty sauces. Also, heavier and oilier noodles are used for the toss since they don’t break up as easily. Being Aussie and brought up on a diet of the classic ‘meat-n-three’, R. could never understand the appeal of noodles first thing in the morning. However, on our first trip back to Malaysia together in 2010 he started getting into the groove of things, especially after discovering the yumminess of  ‘ko lo mein’ ~ egg noodles boiled in water then drained and tossed in dark sauce, served with sweet BBQ pork, scallions, fried shallots and wonton dumplings.




Picture source : waltersim.blogspot.com

Picture source : waltersim.blogspot.com





Other tossed noodles of note include ‘dan dan mian’  from the Sichuan province of China,  ‘Ipoh mee kicap’ from Malaysia and, Singaporean style ‘mee pok’ ~ different noodle varieties, different flavours, but the same concept.



My version today takes a page out of these recipes and made it my own. I wouldn’t say it is an original recipe, but it’s a good one none the less. My favourite noodle right now it udon, so I’m featuring it here today, but you can also use the regular greasy yellow noodles if you wish. The most important component in a recipe like this is obviously the sauce; it takes center stage. Choosing the appropriate noodle to use is also cruicial; this dish just would not work with rice vermicelli.




Udon in Mushroom Mince Meat sauce8





Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 1 pkt udon noodles per person.
  • 300 g minced pork
  • 100 g fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 dried Chinese black mushroom, softened (keep the soaking liquid)
  • 3 shallots, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cm fresh ginger, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • few drops of sesame oil
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  • Fresh spring onions for garnish




This sauce is essentially a braised meat sauce … an Asian ragu, if you will. The longer you braise the sauce the deeper the flavour will be. All that woodiness from the mushroom will really permeate through the meat and the sauce will go a very deep dark colour.


Start by heating a little bit of peanut oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Sautée the shallots, ginger and garlic gently; try not to brown them. Then add the mince and break it up thoroughly with the back of a wooden spoon. Sautée the meat until thoroughly cooked.


Now add all the mushrooms and toss. It may look like a lot but they will cook down later. Add the Chinese 5-spice powder and stir thru.





Udon in Mushroom Mince Meat sauce9





Now add the Chinese cooking wine and allow the alcohol to cook off before adding the brown sugar, vinegar, dark soy, light soy and oyster sauce. Turn the heat down to low and allow the sauce to thicken slightly.


Everytime the sauce looks like it is about to get too dry, add a little bit of the reserved soaking liquid (from the mushrooms). Keep simmering on low heat for about 40 mins, and each time you will need to add more liquid … approx 50 – 100mls at a time.


Once your sauce is done, take it off the heat and stir through the chopped spring onions and coriander leaves. Boil your noodles, place in bowls and top with the sauce. Drop a few drops of sesame oil on top, garnish with more chopped greens and serve. Additional condiments can include fried shallots, fish cake, firm toufu and baby bok choy.





Udon in Mushroom Mince Meat sauce7




This sauce keeps well in the fridge and would probably taste better on day-two. Because it is heavy on the salt from all the sauces there isn’t any need for any more seasoning. Also, you won’t need a lot to go on each serve. If you are health conscious and would like less saltiness, then you can always opt for low sodium varieties of sauce.




Udon in Mushroom Mince Meat sauce




Well, whether you have this for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you are in for a treat. I really wonder if any of my Malaysian and Singaporean readers will bother making this (lucky bums who have the convenience of hawker stalls not 100m away) … but perhaps those of you, like myself, who are living in foreign lands. For the chilli lovers, a tablespoon of sambal or a drizzle of chilli oil could boost the flavour factor up a notch; in fact, I should try that myself the next time I make this.




~ Enjoy! ~


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