When I was last in Singapore, I attended two Japanese cooking classes one of which was on Japanese noodles and the other Sushi-making. The recurring basic ingredients include Kombu (Kelp), Dashi, Bonito flakes, Seaweed, Mirin...
I like the underlying sweet and fishy taste in Japanese cooking, but am just not a fan of Bonito and seaweed. Besides, Japanese ingredients are not cheap and a little difficult to purchase here in Stuttgart.
But I had a craving for Udon Soup today and just had to satisfy it. And I happened to have this packet of Udon noodles (the dry ones, not the vacuum-packed pre-cooked ones) that I brought over from Singapore last year. Great.
So I made my soup :
Spring onions (sliced lengthwise)
Sugar and White wine (to replace Mirin)
Light Soya Sauce (Japanese if possible)
Ikan Bilis and Chicken Cubes (to replace Dashi stock)
Star Anis and Cinnamon Stick (Optional)
Salt and Pepper
Basically just heat up a pot, brown the ginger, garlic, whole spices in a little bit of sesame oil. Add in 2 Tbsp of sugar and when it starts to caramelise, add in the white wine and stir well till the sugar dissolves in it. Add in a few Chinese or Japanese Shitake Mushrooms, 5-6 cups of water and the Ikan Bilis and Chicken cubes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Next step : Stir in 2-3 Tbsp of Light Soya Sauce and 1 Tbsp of Sesame Oil. Salt and pepper to taste. In a separate pot, heat up lots of water and when it's boiling, add in a packet (250g) of Udon noodles. Cook for 9 minutes. Drain and rinse with lots of cold water. Set aside.
I chose to eat my Udon soup with Black Tiger Prawns, mini Fishballs, Silken Tofu slices, Green Asparagus, German Maultachen rolls (basically spinach, bacon and minced pork rolled up in pasta) and the mushrooms.
Garnish with chilli flakes, spring onions and coriander leaves if desired.
PS : For a darker soup, add in more soy sauce.