I was first introduced to the savory umami udon noodles with shiitake broth on my visit to Matsuyama, a town known for its bathhouses. The restaurant menu had numerous noodle options to choose from and I chose the chewy udon noodles with a shiitake broth because we visited a mushroom farm on that trip where I learned that they grew mushrooms in logs instead of caves supporting a natural growth. Since my stomach was growling for that same udon shiitake taste, I tried to recreate from memory of what I had tasted in Japan using the ingredients I had on hand. I started making the soup base with miso and shiitakes and used leeks cooked in butter. This vegetarian version was far from the umami I had experienced in Japan, but it was still slurp-worthy, a Japanese way of displaying good food.
- A big steaming bowl of noodles in broth is a great satisfying meal that nurtures the body and soul.
- At the Japanese restaurant, there were over two dozen choices of soups, the menu appeared unchanged for centuries.
- A homemade vegetarian version of udon can be a great way to eat this Japanese soup without having the authentic version.
“Afterward, we launched at an ancient noodle house, with great blackened ceiling beams, heavy wooden tables, and impressive pottery.”
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