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Video: Udon mushroom yakisoba

I’d like to say that I was inspired and feeling creative and really into Japanese food and all that, but the reality is I just didn’t have a lot of food on hand for lunch one day and this was the result.

Thank goodness I at least had a few fresh mushrooms in a bag in the crisper.  That, combined with some great, simple flavours and a bag of udon noodles would make for a fast, simple and satisfying lunch.

Like everyone, the pantry in my house runs a bit low on fresh ingredients on occasion – especially in the winter – but I do stock an appalling tonnage of noodles.  At any given time, I’ve got noodles from at least five different regions of the planet on hand, ready to fill a craving whether it be spaghetti and meatballs, Pad Thai, chow mein or anything in between. Packs of udon noodle are now as ubiquitous in my refrigerator as a block of butter.

So, use your noodle folks. Use it wisely. Flavour them simply and enjoy.

Udon and mushroom yakisoba

1 package fresh udon noodles

Two or three fresh mushrooms of any kind (about 1/3 cup chopped)

A little bit of butter and vegetable oil

Pinch of brown sugar

1 teaspoon or so chopped fresh ginger

1 clove of garlic, chopped

Yakisoba sauce:

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tbsp mirin

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon ketchup

several grinds of fresh black pepper and/or some Japanese or Chinese hot pepper powder

1/4 cup water

sesame seeds and Japanese seaweed powder for garnish

First, bring a pot with four cups of water in it to a boil and add the udon noodles. Cook about three minutes until just about tender (remember, they’ll finish cooking in the sauce).  Meanwhile, heat a non-stick fry pan over medium high heat for several minutes.  Add the butter and vegetable oil and then the mushrooms and brown sugar. Saute until golden. Add the ginger and garlic and saute another minute.   Drain the udon noodles and rinse under water for a moment, then add to the fry pan.  Stir fry for a minute then add all ingredients for the yakisoba sauce. Reduce heat to medium and stir fry until the noodles absorb the sauce.  Transfer to a plate and top with sesame seeds and Japanese seaweed.  Also great with snow peas, sliced carrot, pickled ginger, a circus performer, a 1975 buick, a large maple tree, or whatever you have on hand.