Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Comfort pasta: Yaki Udon in a miso sauce

I'm not going to go into what life is like right now, except to say that this last month has been a shit-storm ... and then it got a whole lot worse.

There is a dire need for comfort food in my life right now.  Something comforting, high in energy, but also healthy enough to keep me going.  Unfortunately, there has been zero opportunity to go shopping, so the pantry is getting sparse.  Thankfully I have a garden full of growing things.  

Comfort food for me starts with pasta.  You can have the chocolate and icecream.  I'm keeping the pasta.  

When I saw the udon noodles hidden under the chickpeas, I knew that's what I needed.  Yaki udon (basically meaning fried udon) sprung to mind.  Yaki udon always has cabbage, a protein and a sauce.  Usually a specific kind of sauce... a sauce that got used up weeks ago.  Too hungry to think of a better meal plan, I decided to improvize.

I found a wedge of cabbage at the back of the fridge, cut off the bad bits and shredded up enough for one serving.  The garden donated carrots, cauliflower, and green onions.  But what to use to make the sauce?  I have miso on the mind right now... so why not give it a try?

The results were delicious; albeit not photogenic.

Yaki Udon in a Miso Sauce 

(serves one)

1/2 brick of udon noodles
drizzle sesame oil
1/2 cup of shredded cabbage
1 small carrot, sliced thin
1 floret of cauliflower, sliced thin
1/2 tin tuna, drained
2 Tbs sake
1/4 tsp soy sauce or soy sub
1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp + miso or soy-free miso paste (chickpea miso tastes best in my opinion)
one green onion, chopped into rings

  • Bring a small pot of water to the boil and par-boil the noodles for about one min (this is a good time to chop the veg while you wait).  Strain the noodles and place to one side.
  • In a small fry pan or wok, fry the veg in sesame oil on high, until starts to brown a little around the edges.  Stir in the tuna and cook another minute.
  • Add the noodles and everything else except the green onion.  Stir well and simmer at medium-high until the sauce reduces.  Stir frequently.
  • Just before serving, mix in the green onion.
  • Enjoy!

Fast food:  All in all this took me less than 10 minutes.  That includes digging everything out of the cupboard and garden. 

Healthy treat:  All the ingredients are good for you.  The miso, honey, veg, even the tuna.  Of course, some of these ingredients are not so health in large quantities... the salt in the miso, the sweet in the honey, the whatever-it-is in the tuna... but truthfully, these are not large quantities.  Besides, it's comfort food. Any healthy that happens is purely accidental.

Affordable: 50 cent for the noodles (if you buy the expensive ones), Somewhere between 20 to 50 cents for the rest of the stuff.   Let's round up and call it a dollar per serving.

Cooking with allergies:  This is easily customizable to accommodate allergies.  I mentioned using the soy free miso and sauce, but you can change anything you want.  Gluten free?  Just use other noodles.  Vegan? Replace the honey and tuna with (vegan friendly sweetener) and tofu.

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